What A Mess

Attribution to Elliot from Castro Valley, California

The Winnipeg Jets, in 1996, moved their team to Arizona. The player above is Shane Doan, one of Arizona’s stars , since the move.

The team has been plagued with financial issues and bad management since their arrival, in Arizona. The NHL, under Gary Bettman keeps pushing and supporting efforts for keeping the team in a lucrative Southwestern media market. But things just keep going downhill.

The team first played, in Phoenix, in the America West arena. It was a state of the art basketball arena, with a seating capacity of 18,000, but it was not designed for hockey. To shape it for hockey, the capacity was reduced to only 16,000. The team was facing financial difficulties, during this time and almost moved to Hamilton, Ontario.

The team eventually moved to a new arena, in Glendale, which is in the Western part of the Phoenix Metropolitan area. It is right beside the Arizona Cardinal football stadium. The arena is in a great entertainment district, full of hotels and restaurants. However, the location was not optimal. It could take an hour to an hour and a half to get there from the Eastern end of the metropolitan area.

Throughout their stay, in Glendale, there was a love-hate relationship with the City of Glendale. The Coyotes, in part due to location and in part because they were a bad team, did not draw well. Whenever a Canadian team played there, the Canadian team fans outnumbered the Coyote fans. The arena was also a poor draw for non-hockey events, meaning less revenue for the City of Glendale.

The City of Glendale, ended their lease with the Coyotes at the end of the 2021-2022 season. As a stop-gap measure, the Coyotes signed a three-year lease with Arizona State University, to play out of there 5,000 seat hockey arena. Even here, centrally located, not every game is a sell-out. The Coyotes submitted a $2.1 Billion proposed arena, to the City of Tempe. The proposal was for $1.9 Billion of that amount to be privately funded. the proposed arena would be built a couple of miles away from Sky Harbour Airport, a favourable location. The City of Tempe held a Yes or No vote last week. In another questionable move, the Coyotes launched a campaign with only $250,000. The No vote campaign had $2 million. The residents, of Tempe, voted against the proposal.

This has turned into an all-around mess. Nobody knows what will happen next. I would be surprised if the team stays in Arizona.

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