Gary Bettman lobbies for Coyotes arena closer to downtown Phoenix

In lobbying for an Arizona Senate bill, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has declared that "The Coyotes cannot and will not remain in Glendale."

Bettman wrote a letter to the Arizona Legislature on Tuesday advocating for Senate Bill 1149, which would establish a public-private partnership for financing a new Coyotes arena in the East Valley or downtown Phoenix.

He reaffirmed the league's commitment to keeping the Coyotes in the Phoenix area but said Glendale "is not economically capable of supporting a successful NHL franchise."

"For the past 15 years, a succession of ownership groups and the League have tried everything imaginable to make the Glendale location financially sustainable. Our combined efforts all have yielded the same result -- a consistent economic loss," he wrote.

"The Arizona Coyotes must have a new arena location to succeed."

Bettman said Coyotes representatives met last week with Glendale officials but that "nothing offered in that meeting changed the fact that Glendale will not work for the team or for the NHL."

Arena and lease issues have plagued the Coyotes for years.

They initially played in downtown Phoenix after the franchise relocated from Winnipeg in the summer of 1996, and they have played in Glendale since 2003.

During the team's time in Glendale, it has been afflicted by poor attendance in large part because the majority of the fan base is on the east side. For a four-year period, the team was operated by the NHL as new owners were sought to keep the team in the region.

But even after the sale of the team in 2013, there were ongoing issues with the lease arrangement between Glendale and the Coyotes, which prompted ongoing legal challenges and the constant threat of relocation. The Glendale City Council opted in 2015 to terminate the Coyotes' existing 15-year lease, and the sides eventually signed a two-year agreement that expires June 30.

Last month, Arizona State University pulled out of a deal with the Coyotes to build a new arena in Tempe.

ESPN's Scott Burnside and Katie Strang and The Associated Press contributed to this report.