Hello from Fountain Hills, Arizona. Home of sun, golf, and for now the Arizona Coyotes.
As my two weeks in the Valley of the Sun comes to a conclusion (I take an annual two week vacation here – Cheap Golf and hot weather guaranteed), the story that I keep hearing about is the Arizona Coyotes and their disaster in Glendale.
But it bears noting that this story is emanating from outside of Arizona…here it isn’t even managing a ripple.
Sure there are articles in the local papers that are speaking of the City of Glendale and the about face that they are engaging in with the Coyotes, but outside of that, there has been no pulse, no outrage about the Coyotes and their apparent eviction.
There are no human interest stories as to what life will be like in Phoenix without the Coyotes, because if the team did leave, outside of the handful of diehards, no one would care.
Are there hockey fans down in the desert? Yes there are. I have been to the local sports bar for three games while down here in Fountain Hills, no more than a half hour drive from the Gila River Arena, and the bar is packed and they love their hockey. But not once, not even last night when the vote was taking place, did I overhear any conversation from any pub patron, lamenting the loss of the Coyotes?
The Coyotes have already been lost friends…
There is an infrastructure here for hockey, and the Coyotes may have helped grow those grass roots, but the infrastructure comes from transplants to the area. From people who have relocated to the desert from California, where hockey has flourished now for decades, and of course from the snowbirds in Canada.
The bar last night was roaring for the Chicago Black Hawks. If this arena deal malarkey happened in Vancouver, there would be a rally at the art gallery, followed by a lynching.
Today in Phoenix, not a peep…the people have spoken. This market has shown us what they think of their team when they send 11000 empty seats into the ether on a nightly basis. We have all seen the lack of support for this team for the last number of years. It is high time that the NHL takes the hint and removes itself from this equation.
It is time for the NHL to migrate from the desert…the sooner that it does, the better.