As the Arizona Coyotes saga appears headed toward a complete divorce from Glendale - if you believe all the reports and quotes from members of the media and team over the past few months - I have a question about the entire process.
Who should get the “blame” for this mess?
There are many severely delusional Coyotes fans that can’t say anything nice about the city and, on the other side, non-sports fans have already said “good riddance” to the team.
Hardcore Coyotes fans continue to say, “Glendale reneged on a contract,” and no matter what you say, Glendale is always wrong.
But, look at all those lawsuits that were going to be filed against the city. Isn’t it weird that they were all dismissed or dropped? Can one of the delusional Coyotes fans explain that to me?
Didn’t think so.
Obviously, the city’s case was a lot stronger than anyone knew, or why would all those lawsuits be dropped?
Then again, non-sports fans in Glendale say, “What took you so long to void this deal,” or “Why did you even approve that deal?”
But, that is the past; let’s look at the present.
Numerous reports say the Coyotes are planning an announcement by the end of April of a new arena in either Tempe, in connection with the ASU Division I hockey team, or Scottsdale, on Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community reservation land.
There also are reports construction could begin immediately after an announcement is made and it would take approximately three years to complete any arena.
A source at the NHL headquarters in New York, who asked not to be identified, said he didn’t think the NHL or other owners would approve a move to sovereign land, which is where a possible Salt River Pima arena would be located.
The NHL official said, “If an arena is on sovereign land and the tribe wants to change any contract, they can do it and the team would have no say, so I don’t think current owners would approve such a deal.”
A third option, a dual-use arena with the Phoenix Suns, is apparently off the table, as Suns owner Robert Sarver does not want to carry a co-tenant, since he is currently paying nearly $23 million a year in rent for Talking Stick Arena in downtown Phoenix.
The main question nobody will answer when they mention a new arena for the Coyotes is, who is going to front the bill?
Numerous polls and reports have said that while citizens in numerous cities have said they would like the team, they are not willing to raise taxes or sell bonds to finance any new arena.
So, how do the owners of the Coyotes plan to finance a new arena?
I guess what I am trying to say to everyone is, even with an announcement that may or may not come in April, until they show a viable financing plan, I would not count on anything to come to fruition, especially when the team – for the present time – has a home to play in.
Slap in the face to the City of Glendale
In another slap in the face to the City of Glendale, especially after recent interviews by people from the organization saying they basically do not feel wanted in Glendale, the Coyotes sent out a recent ad, via the Coyotes official Twitter and Facebook accounts, that is a direct jab at Glendale.
The advertisement says “This place wasn’t built for Hockey, but we are” in front of a picture of Coyotes goaltender Louis Domingue.
The advertisement is part slap in the face to the city, part lie and pure false advertisement.
The arena, near Loop 101 and Glendale Avenue, opened in late December 2003 with fireworks, aerial dancers and Wayne Gretzky, leading the (then) Phoenix Coyotes franchise into Glendale.
Wasn’t built for hockey? It was built especially for the Coyotes to get them out of (then) America West Arena, which had nearly 4,200 obstructed view seats for hockey games.
I guess the current owners don’t know their history about the arena they are playing in, or the history of hockey in Arizona?
There have also been numerous versions of the Phoenix/Arizona Roadrunners that played in the Western Hockey League, World Hockey League and the East Coast Hockey League that I knew about, while l was living in California.
I am a huge sports fan, have been covering sports in three different states for more than 15 years, and I am ready to hold the door open for the Coyotes to make a quick exit out of Glendale.
Any true hockey fan, and Coyote fan in particular, should be offended by this ad, no matter what your feelings are about the battle between the team and city.
Your tax dollars paid, or should I say is paying, for an arena for a hockey team that has missed the playoffs in 10 of their 19 seasons here in the desert.
It “wasn’t built for hockey, but we are,” is a joke and I would advise the city councilmembers that if the owners announce a new arena, they should push them out the door and make them play at the Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum, until a new arena is built. It seats about 13,000 for ice hockey, so maybe they can get a couple of sell-outs they can’t get at Gila River Arena.