The Coyotes New Arena Project Has Been Voted Down By Tempe And Indications Are That This Is The Final Straw For The NHL In Arizona
It’s not hyperbole to say that Tuesday is the biggest day is Arizona Coyotes franchise history. Granted, there haven’t been many to write home about in 27 years in the desert – with more bankruptcies than playoff series wins and nearly as many postseason appearances (nine) as ownership changes (seven). The Coyotes have been the NHL’s definition of ‘also ran,’ propped up by commissioner Gary Bettman’s steadfast commitment to keeping hockey in the fifth-biggest city in the United States. Without it, we wouldn’t have Auston Matthews.
And after Tuesday’s vote, it’s possible the Valley of the Sun won’t have the Coyotes much longer. Because the fate of the franchise in Arizona rests in the hands of voters by way of a special election on Tuesday that will determine whether to keep alive or kill the team’s plans for a long-desired new home in Tempe.
And with that vote lay the first NHL Relocation since the Winnipeg Jets. Enough is enough. Like Seravalli said in his article I quoted above...more bankruptcies than playoff series wins. I am sad for the people in Arizona who are actual fans, but the reality is that there just aren't enough of them. The fan base never really had a chance to grow with the lack of success, different arenas, and a million different ownership groups over the last 27 years, but I think the better part of three decades is enough time. It hasn't worked. it is time to move on.
I was told by an NHL executive a few months ago that this was coming. That this vote was everything and if it didn't pass the league would probably move quickly to relocate. Similar situation when the Jets were in Winnipeg seemingly overnight. The other 31 owners are sick of subsidizing the Coyotes. The NHLPA wants more hockey related revenue in their pockets. With no new arena coming, playing in a 5000 seat college rink that they can't sell out isn't viable. Bettman probably won't give up but he has been seen with at least one NBA owner (Utah) and there have been whispers about Houston and Atlanta. Maybe Bettman is finally ready to call it quits on his little project in the desert
The most Coyotes thing ever…they got out spent on the issue. There was a report that the PAC supporting the Coyotes spent $200K on garnering support and attention for the new arena while the opposition group spent $2M. There was never support for the Coyotes on any front.
So now the question is likely more of where and when. I'd love it to be Quebec City, but Bettman would never allow that. It'd be literally his last choice. Beginning to think he genuinely hates the Quebecois. I think Atlanta could have some support. Houston seems to make a lot of sense. Utah? Kansas City? Milwaukee? Personally I'd love it to be out East somewhere and then force the Red Wings to come back to the Blackhawks division. Only playing the Wings twice a year stinks. I want that rivalry back with both teams turning it around. My gut says it will be Houston though. My understanding is that their NBA arena can be a turnkey solution for the NHL. Not the same situation in Utah. I would LOVE a little ski trip built around the Blackhawks playing in Utah though. Stay in Park City, come in to Salt Lake to see Bedard at night. That's a great little weekend.
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