Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Hockey in the Desert

Most of you who read this will already know about my love of hockey. I've written here before about the struggles of our beleaguered franchise. This will be another one of those posts...I just have to vent.

The City of Glendale (CoG) voted 4-3 last night to approve the arena lease deal and pave the way for the sale by the NHL to the new ownership group. There are still steps to take to get the ownership deal done, but this is the best position we've been in for the last 4 years. Still, I remain cautiously optimistic. Because we've seen deals come and go and we've been through 4 years of uncertainty and heartbreak. It's not easy to let that go. Now that the whole ordeal seems to be coming to an end, I have a few things I want to say. Here's my take on hockey in the this moment.

The name will change to Arizona Coyotes...don't really care as long as they stay here, they could call them the Glendale Coyotes of Arizona (take that Anaheim). Or the Roadrunners...I like the sound of that, you'll understand why later.

After watching the CoG vote last night I came to a couple of conclusions. CM Sherwood is probably the smartest person in the whole city. Vice Mayor Knaak should be the Mayor. And 1/3 of the city council are just buffoons and I have no idea how they got elected.

I am not a fan of Gary Bettman (NHL Commissioner) by any means but I do appreciate what he has done to keep our team here. And hopefully there are no ulterior motives...

I am extremely happy for the business owners and employees of the Westgate area. To think that a major entertainment venue could survive without an anchor tenant is folly. Thousands of jobs would have been lost, businesses would have gone under and the only thing you'd be hearing at Westgate is the sound of the wind whistling through the empty space. I am really irritated by those that continually want to lay the CoG's financial woes at the feet of the Coyotes. We have been living through one of the worst economic downturns in our nation’s history yet attendance was up over the last several years...keeping the businesses at Westgate afloat. I'm sure there are many more economical problems in the CoG than the Coyotes and Arena. The lack of vision on the part of some is really astounding. Sometimes things have to hurt before they get better.

I am excited to see what an actual, honest to goodness, real owner will do with this franchise...we have never had one of those and I am looking forward to the prospect.

There has been a lot of talk about how we don't have our own fan base. That when we fill the arena it's filled with Hawks, Redwings or Bruins fans. Well guess what people? We live in a melting pot. People move here from Chicago, Detroit and Boston because they love the weather not the sports teams. They grew up with multiple generations of loyalty to a team. They are not going to give that up just because they moved here. And quite frankly, I really don't care who comes just as long as there are butts in the seats. We are just now coming into our own as a major league sports town. The kids who were young when Coyotes or the D-Backs or the Cardinals came here are just in their 20's now and starting families of their own. That's how you build a fan base, but it takes time. You have to give it time...and good ownership. The Cardinals have just been seeing more of their own fans in the last couple of years. Go to any D-Backs game and you will hear lots of cheering for the opposing team. It's just the way it is in this valley and if you are going to be a true fan, you just have to get used to it. And then be the solution instead of the problem. Go to the games, support the local team, and bring a friend who's never been to a game. Grow the fan base.

Lastly, I want to say to those that think hockey doesn't belong in the desert and that this is not a hockey town (yes, I'm talking to you Canada)...I have been watching hockey in the desert for over 40 years. I went to my first hockey game when I was 10 years old. I fell in love and I've been in love ever since. They were the Phoenix Roadrunners back then. There was no Plexiglas surrounding the ice, just wire mesh. They didn't wear helmets or face shields and the goalies had the Freddie Kruger type masks. They fought more and whined less. My husband and I fell in love going to Roadrunner games. I still think the Roadrunner logo is the best logo in all of sports...ever. (I really wanted to include a picture of the logo but could not get it to work.)So yeah, I'd be happy if they changed the name to the Roadrunners...but the Arizona Coyotes is fine...and I love their logo too. I just really want people to know that there are rabid fans in this valley and state. One interesting tidbit I learned on Twitter last night...there were more AZ players in the NCAA Frozen Four than in the Final Four...not a hockey town, huh?

If you made it this far I want to thank you for bearing with me while I vented. I just have one last thing to say before I go. Quoting from a recent NHL commercial....

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