Here’s a bit from our NOHS mailbag, in which we get sacks and sacks of letters. This one comes to us from a reader in our Desert Contingent here in Arizona, and it regards the issue of our self-proclaimed rivals in the Phoenix Coyotes and, at a larger issue, Detroit’s move to the ranks of the eastern teams and what it means for us fans left behind out west.
Sully - What do you think will happen with PHX ownership issues? The only drawback of moving to the East for me is that I can only get to 1 Red Wings game a year now. I really hope that PHX stays around and would still go a couple of other games if they do.
First things first: Phoenix deal appears to be, if not stabilizing, slowing its descent in the pit of quicksand. Renaissance Sports & Entertainment is the name of the group actually vying for ownership, and a real group with a real name is more than this saga has had in 4 years. Their next challenge is a lease with the City of Glendale, which the citizens there seem to back when it comes to majority votes, so I think that’ll work out.
And let us assume it does work out. My opinion on it is consistent with what I have always said: Great for me, great for Glendale, terrible for Hockey. Phoenix is not what I would consider a struggling economy, though Glendale is very unrepresentative of the local economy here (i.e. they’re broke as a joke). So good for that area in getting the team to stay (potentially). Still, I believe hockey is better suited overall with yet another team in a strong market. A small arena like Glendale not being sold out consistently the season after they make the Western Conference Finals is a travesty. Put them in Seattle and let’s all be happy.
In terms of my own selfishness, however, I am always thrilled to watch the Wings here. Their move East is bittersweet, for sure. Lots of my friends attend both games here in Phoenix and there are many other folks in California coloring the Shark Tank, the Ponda, and the Staples Center with red who won’t be able to do it but once per regular season and maybe not at all in the post-season. That makes me a bit sad.
I’ll still do my Coyotes 4-Game plan, however, which used to be two Wings games and two games I’d fit in either due to weekend availability (which usually coincided with dollar beer nights) or teams/stars I wanted to see. Sticking with that, I think I’ll do a Wings game and try to see Boston when they come out this way, possibly Ovechkin and the Caps, or maybe if my Pittsburgh troll of a co-worker talks me into it, the Pen(i)s.
At least fans out east will now get to see the Wings, and the earlier start times will suit me better. And at least you still have, for the moment anyway, an NHL arena in your area. Although, I still think moving to Seattle or Quebec (though not sure about how that would affect realignment) is the best option and Bettman is being stubborn to the point of insanity keeping a team in Arizona.