The Arizona Coyotes will remain in the Phoenix area, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said Thursday after the city of Glendale announced it would not renew its operating agreement with the team at Gila River Arena following this season.

“I’m not worried about the Coyotes.” Commissioner Bettman said on WFAN 660 AM in New York. “I think their future stays in the greater Phoenix area.”

As part of a year-by-year lease agreement between the Coyotes and Glendale, either party was able to decide not to renew for an additional year by providing written notice each year on or before Dec. 31.

“We are disappointed by today’s unilateral decision by the City of Glendale to break off negotiations on a multi-year lease extension agreement,” Coyotes president and CEO Xavier A. Gutierrez said. “We are hopeful that they will reconsider a move that would primarily damage the small businesses and hard-working citizens of Glendale. We remain open to restarting good-faith negotiations with the City.

“Most importantly, the Coyotes are 100 percent committed to finding a long-term arena solution here in Arizona, and nothing will shake our determination to do what is right for our organization, residents of the entire Valley and, most important, our fans.”

Commissioner Bettman said this is the latest step in talks between the two parties.

“First of all, I don’t think the Coyote franchise is going anywhere,” he said. “I think the city of Glendale is negotiating.

“There’s no secret that Alex Meruelo, who’s the owner of the Coyotes, is looking at his options to build a new arena somewhere else in greater Phoenix and I think the city of Glendale basically said to the Coyotes, you have to sign a 20-year lease or we’re not going to renew.”

The Coyotes relocated from Winnipeg to Phoenix for the 1996-97 season and played at America West Arena downtown until moving 12.5 miles northwest to Glendale for the 2003-04 season. They changed their geographic name from Phoenix to Arizona on June 27, 2014.

“We are thankful to the NHL and the Arizona Coyotes for being a part of the Glendale community for the past 18 years,” Glendale city manager Kevin Phelps said. “The decision not to renew the operating agreement with the Coyotes was not made overnight or in a vacuum. We carefully weighed input from key stakeholders, our expert economist, our arena management firm and our city council.”

The Coyotes are reportedly looking to relocate to Tempe, telling AZ Central on July 22 they were “highly interested in the location.” They made the Stanley Cup Playoffs in five of their first six seasons in Phoenix but once since advancing to the 2012 Western Conference Final.

Andre Tourigny was hired as coach July 1 after it was announced May 9 that Rick Tocchet would not return after four seasons. The Coyotes will move from the Pacific Division to the Central Division this season, with the expansion Seattle Kraken joining the Pacific.

The Coyotes begin the season at the Columbus Blue Jackets on Oct. 14, and host the St. Louis Blues in their home opener four days later. Their final regular-season game at Gila River Arena is scheduled for April 29 against the Nashville Predators.

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