Gila River Arena – Arizona Coyotes
Having A Howling Good Time In Glendale
The City of Glendale has been the home of the Arizona Coyotes of the NHL since 2003. Its specific home ice has undergone several name changes over the years, as it began as the Glendale Arena, then became the Jobing Arena. Finally, in 2014, the Arizona Coyotes, the Gila River Indian Community and the Gila River Casino all signed on to a naming rights agreement resulting in its present name of the Gila River Arena. This marked the first federally recognized Tribal naming rights deal with any of the big four professional sports leagues.
The Arena serves as the anchor of the Westgate Entertainment District on the west side of the Glendale business district. It is also considered to be a part of the Glendale Sports District, which includes the nearby University of Phoenix Stadium, home of the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals, as well as Camelback Ranch, the spring training home of the Chicago White Sox and the Los Angeles Dodgers. Due to their close proximity, in the springtime it is very possible for fans to get in a day / night doubleheader with one of the baseball teams in the daytime and a Coyotes game as a nightcap.
Food & Beverage 4
Gila River Arena goes well beyond the typical stadium fare in its concession offerings. Each of the stands offer specialty fare with a duplicate stand found on each of the arena’s two levels. Papa John’s offers a wide variety of pizzas ($9), along with the Bar S Coyote Dog ($6.75) and Pepsi brand products. The Goal Line Club features chicken tenders ($10) and buffalo chicken sandwiches ($8.50). Sunrise Cantina offers a wide variety of Southwestern themed foods, including nachos ($8), churros ($4.50), and a Frito walking taco ($10). Canyon Grille serves up bratwurst, cheeseburgers and Snake Bits, which are cheesy tator tots ($5). The Blue Line Deli offers a wide variety of sandwiches ($6.50), subs ($8.50) and wraps ($6.50) and jumbo pretzels ($6). For those Canadian visitors the Coyotes offer pulled pork poutine ($12.50), and traditional poutine ($10.50). Bar S serves the more common stadium fare including peanuts ($5.50), hot dogs ($5) and popcorn ($5).
Pepsi brand products ($6) and bottled water ($6) are sold at all stands. For more adult beverages, fans can choose between the Heineken Bar, the End Cap Bars, the Pourhouse, the Taphouse and the RD Rock Brewpub for either main line beers ($11) or a wide selection of craft beers ($12).
Early arriving fans can take advantage of the Fireball Terrace, an outdoor bar found on top of the second level concourse. It opens 1 hour before the game and offers a full service bar and light snacks. This is a great place to watch sunsets and enjoy the nearby mountain views.
The Coyotes moved from their former home in downtown Phoenix due to design issues which resulted in obstructed views for the fans. That will not happen at Gila River, as it offers excellent sight lines no matter where your seats are. The 17,125 seat facility is built with two levels of seating, with open concourses on each level, so you will not miss any of the action.
The Gila River Arena offers the latest in electronics, so you will stay well informed throughout the game. Some of the features include a 360 ribbon band across the front of the 200 level façade, an eight sided scoreboard with 28X 28 video boards and an excellent sound system. (You will hear the coyote howl clearly throughout the night… like it or not!)
Other amenities in the arena include 87 luxury suites, 12 party suites that can be rented on a nightly basis and 400 club level seats which are wider and offer special services such as food delivered directly to your seat. One unique feature is the BMW Lounge, which is only opened to season ticket holders. It is located directly behind the player bench for both teams, so fans can see the players as they exit between periods as they head back to their locker rooms.
The neighborhood surrounding the Gila River Arena is the Westgate Entertainment District. It offers a wide variety of entertainment options including a casino, a bowling alley and a multiplex movie theatre. There are more than 20 restaurants for pre or post-game dining with two favorites being Yard House and McFadden’s. There are also two hotels on site, both of which offer discounted rates when you use the term “Coyote” while making your reservations. These hotels are the Springhill Suites Glendale and the Hampton Inn Glendale / Westgate. Both are within walking distance of the arena, so you can save on parking. The closest attractions are the Camelback Ranch, which offers much more than baseball activities and the University of Phoenix Stadium, which offers tours.
Hockey fans have long criticized Phoenix as a “non-traditional” hockey town. It is true that there are not a lot of youth or juniors level hockey teams in the area. However, Phoenix does have a large number of transplants who have moved from “traditional” hockey towns to escape the brutal winters in their retirement years. It is these transplants that form the fan base for the team. They are very educated about the game and support the Coyotes very loyally. One weakness of this situation is that they cheer for their former hometown teams when they come to town. The common thread for the entire Coyote Fan base is that their main rival is the LA Kings. It is too early to tell, but the new Vegas Golden Knights may also become a fierce rival due to their relatively close geographic proximity.
Coyote fans are hungry for a winner, as they have been to the NHL playoffs only 5 times since the team was formed in 1996. The furthest the team has ever advanced is the Western Division Finals.
Working hard to fire up the fans are Howler the Coyote and the members of the Paws Patrol.
The Gila River Arena is very easy to reach via Highway 101 on the west side of Phoenix. You would take the Glendale exit off 101 and head east for miles. The Westgate Entertainment District will be on your left shortly after you pass the University of Phoenix football stadium. It is wise to pre-purchase your parking for the arena as this will determine when you turn left at the facility. Directions to your lot will be printed on your parking pass.
Once in the arena you will find the access to be excellent. The concourses are very wide, and the concessions are spread out so that you should not experience any backups or gridlock between periods.
Return on Investment 4
Ticket prices range from $20 – $50 for seats in the 200 level of the arena, while seats in the 100 level go for $60 – $100. These are amongst the lowest standard game day prices in the NHL. In most cases you will not have to go on the secondary market to purchase more expensive tickets, as the Coyotes average about 13,500 in attendance per game. However, this can change once spring training gets started, as Blackhawks fans and LA Kings fans flood the ticket exchange due to the close proximity of the White Sox / Dodgers spring training facility. These games are often sellouts. Expect to pay $10 for parking, up to $30 if you prefer to valet park. The cost of concessions and variety of foods available make the overall investment for a night with the Coyotes a very good return on investment.
The Gila River Arena hosts “February Frenzy,” a two week span of the state basketball tournament and championships for the high schools in Arizona. Every size bracket of school for both girls and boys gets to enjoy this unique experience
Gila River has hosted most of the top music acts in Phoenix since it opened. Amongst the talent who have performed there are Prince, Rod Stewart, Britney Spears, Toby Keith, Usher, U2, the Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, Justin Timberlake, Katy Perry, the EAGLES, AND Taylor Swift.
Other special events in the facility include the PBR rodeo championships, WWE Raw matches, figure skating shows and Cirque de Soliel performances
Members of the Coyotes Ring of Honor include Teppo Numminem, Keith Tkachuck, Jeremy Roenick and former part owner and coach Wayne Gretzky.
The Coyotes have their own craft brew. It is called “Yotes Pale Ale” and is available at the arena and locations around town.
While many people doubt the long term viability of the Phoenix franchise, Gila River Arena is thriving amongst the other major sports franchises that have opened shop in the Glendale area. The Westgate Entertainment District outside its doors offers a wide variety of options for pre or post-game entertainment. The new rivalry with the Las Vegas Golden Knights is sure to become a hot ticket.
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Renaissance Glendale Hotel & Spa
9495 W. Coyotes Blvd
Glendale, AZ 85305
Holiday Inn Express & Suites Phoenix-Glendale
9310 W Cabela Dr
Glendale, AZ 85305
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Latest Crowd Reviews
Hockey as a sport has really found a footing in Arizona, as evidenced by ASU joining the D-1 ranks and the widely-publicized boom in youth hockey participation around the state. If the Coyotes were to move back to the central part of the Phoenix area, I think they would benefit greatly, and relocation talks would go away forever. For now, having an arena like Gila River Arena isn’t a bad consolation prize. It’s just in the wrong city.