Thursday, 18 June 2015

The Phoenix Coyotes have an opportunity to leave Glendale, hit the reset button.

To me, the Glendale City Council did the Coyotes a huge favour. I don’t know if the team’s squawking is genuine or sabre rattling, pre-negotiations posturing, but they now have an even easier out clause from their lease. The city doesn’t want them, is begging them to go.

The consensus from observers is that the problem with the franchise isn’t so much the greater Phoenix location as much as the Glendale arena’s location, too far and too traffic-congestioned from the businesses in downtown and the retirees in Scottsdale.

So now the team can approach the city, negotiate a three-year window or so during which they play in Glendale while a new arena is built in a better location.

Elliotte Friedman conjectured last week that maybe the Coyotes could work on a joint arena with the Suns, who themselves are exploring a new arena, or that maybe the Gila River Casino, which is apparently a thing down there, had looked into building a rink on their grounds before just buying the naming rights to the Glendale arena.

Best-case scenario for them, the Coyotes share a brand-spanking new arena custom-designed for them, in a downtown location or somewhere preferable, and share it with the Suns like the ‘Hawks do with the Bulls, and the Leafs do with the Raptors. The rink pays for itself, the League maintains a better East-West balance, Canadians retain a sunny destination to go watch hockey games, the NHLPA retains a preferred destination for UFA’s, and Gary Bettman continues his Sunbelt Strategy.

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