Is Hockey Gone in Arizona?

Phoenix Coyotes
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What a stupid question to be asking? As a life-long fan of the NHL and hockey in general, I just can not believe that this maybe the reality for the place I live.  I have been involved in hockey in Arizona for many years. As a adult league player, coach (youth, travel and high school), referee and HS board member. I have been to many professional games in the state (IHL and NHL), youth games (too many to count), college club games and junior games. I am a fan!

There is one thing for sure, those that follow hockey are a family. The “hockey family” is hurting right now. I don’t want to see the Phoenix Coyotes move! I now completely know how the Winnepeg folks felt when the very same team moved to Phoenix. It is very tough. The players have done an amazing job with helping make hockey a success in Arizona. For the past two years, they have had to be in the center of not knowing what is going on. But, they still kept working hard and doing the best that they can. Rumors of staying, relocating, staying, going. They are people and no one needs to be put through that.

So what gives? From a life-long fan of the sport. From a person that gets up extremely early to take his kids to practice. From a person that played well after midnight. From a coach that has had the pleasure of meeting thousands of players, parents and other coaches. I would like to say that politics, strikes again. Let’s look at some stuff:

  • Past ownership needed their own building for hockey.. No doubt! America West Arena was designed for basketball and not hockey. Going to the game was difficult for certain seats. Scottsdale location fails.. Hum, political?
  • Glendale steps up and wins the location of the stadium. Of course, the owner at the time was a developer of much of the site. Hum… Glendale for those that don’t know metro-Phoenix – is on the West side. The stadium is off of the freeway system. Die hard fans – make the drive. Winning “new” fans when you have to drive a bunch is difficult.
  • Goldwater Institute has been actively stating that the sale of the team to the new ownership is breaking some of the gift rules of the state. Seems that some of the work that Glendale officials have proposed for the sale – have the hairs on the back of some of the Goldwater folks neck standing up. Is that political?

I was asked a simple question by a very small person (kid) – “What is going to happen to the stadium now?” I did not have an answer – other than they will have to find another tenant. Maybe more concerts or something like that. 

Next questions was probably the one that got me the most, “What about all the people that work there? Will they lose their jobs?”  Definitely will be a problem for many folks. Arizona economics will be impacted. Now, that is a political hot potato. Don’t we want to keep people working? Don’t we want the other teams fans coming to Arizona to spend their money? I just that is not important.

I may sound like I am on a soapbox. I really would like to see the Phoenix Coyotes stay. I really would like the ownership situation to get settled. I want the players to not go through anymore of this turmoil. I want the team to move forward and continue to build on the success of the past two seasons. Maybe this it too much to ask for.

How about this? Hey Goldwater Institute – TIME TO MOVE ONTO SOMETHING ELSE! You did your due diligence, but move to something more pressing… If you are a political watchdog – then what about all the other stuff that our state government folks are proposing – focus on some really meaningful, please.

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