Gila River Casino Makes NHL History With Arizona Coyotes

Written By Adam Hensley on September 30, 2022
Arizona casino Gila River extends partnership with Coyotes

The Arizona Coyotes officially made NHL history.

The Coyotes and Gila River Resorts & Casino reached a multi-year agreement extension earlier this month. It will keep home jersey branding entitlement with Gila River.

It’s the first time in NHL history that a Native American-owned gaming enterprise will have its logo on an NHL team jersey, according to a press release.

With over two dozen tribal casinos in Arizona, Gila River must be proud of this unique accomplishment. Arizona President and CEO Xavier A. Gutierrez said:

“Gila River has been a long-term partner for the Coyotes, and we are grateful for their tremendous loyalty and support over the years. Like the Coyotes, Gila River prides themselves on their commitment to excellence and to positively impacting our community.”

The Coyotes’ black Kachina jerseys for home games will feature the Gila River Resorts & Casino logo starting in October for the 2022-2023 season. Gila River Resorts & Casino’s logo features its name and a line in the shape of a mountain range underneath.

This logo will be in white font on a black patch on the Coyotes’ jerseys this season. “We look forward to having Gila River’s distinguished and respected name and logo on our incredibly popular black Kachina jerseys,” Gutierrez said.

Gila River ‘honored’ to make history with the Arizona Coyotes

The Coyotes said Gila River will be its season-long presenting sponsor. Gila River will participate in a “variety of community events” this year, the release states.

The Arizona casino hosted a jersey reveal party on Sept. 22, shortly after the announcement, at the Wild Horse Pass location in Chandler. Gila River Resorts & Casinos CEO Kenneth Manuel said in a release:

“Gila River is honored to be the first-ever Native American-owned gaming enterprise to have its logo on an NHL jersey. As local leaders, we have developed an incredible partnership with the Arizona Coyotes driving positive change in the community as well as bringing world-class hockey to the Valley. We are thrilled to embark on this historic journey paving the way for other Native American gaming enterprises.”

What to know about Arizona Casino, Gila River Resorts & Casinos

In addition to the Coyotes, according to its website, Gila River Resorts & Casinos is a partner with the:

  • Arizona Cardinals
  • Phoenix Suns
  • Phoenix Mercury
  • Arizona State Sun Devils

Gila River Resorts & Casinos offers sports benefits for those with strong fandom. Customers can purchase exclusive customized Player’s Club cards, stay in team-themed rooms and get a discount at select team shops, according to the website.

Gila River partnered with athletes like Jae Crowder, too.

Gila River Resorts & Casinos has three locations: Wild Horse Pass, Lone Butte, and Vee Quiva. The business has been in those locations for more than 25 years.

According to its website, Gila River’s casinos “offer a combination of slots, table games, poker, and more. They’re open 24 hours a day and every day of the year.

What to know about the Arizona Coyotes

Arizona struggled last season, posting a record of 25-50-7 and 57 points. That was good for last place in the Western Conference’s Central Division. Arizona wasn’t the NHL’s worst team, though. Montreal took that crown, posting 55 points last season.

So, if you’re a fan of the Coyotes and root for the underdog

Seven Coyotes scored more than 10 goals last season, with center Clayton Keller leading the way at 28. Fellow center Nick Schmaltz scored 23 and left winger Lawson Crouse scored 20.

Right winger Phil Kessel, who left this offseason for Las Vegas, tallied a team-high 44 assists. Defense Shayne Gostisbehere, Schmaltz, and Keller each recorded 35 or more assists, too.

Arizona took center Logan Cooley with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2022 NHL Draft.

Photo by Ringo H.W. Chiu/Associated Press
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Adam Hensley

Adam Hensley is a journalist from Des Moines, Iowa, who currently works for the USA Today Network. His byline has appeared in the Associated Press, Sports Illustrated and sites within the USA Today Network. Hensley graduated from the University of Iowa in 2019 and spent his college career working for the Daily Iowan’s sports department, both as an editor and reporter.

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