Tuesday Night Glendale City Council Meeting Do or Die for Coyotes

There may finally be an answer to the Phoenix Coyotes franchise instability saga at this coming Tuesday evenings Glendale, Arizona city council meeting. Councillors will vote YES or NO on a clause concerning whether they will cover all of the NHL’s losses moving forward, in exchange for the city of Glendale receiving more time to figure out the various and well documented ownership issues regarding the franchise. Basically, if they vote YES, the city of Glendale will agree to cover the losses the NHL expects to incur in the future while they try to find a new owner for the club. This would result in the Coyotes most likely remaining Phoenix for at least one more season. If the councillors vote NO, then the team will most likely be relocated by the NHL as soon as possible.

The NHL would like to remain in Phoenix but not if it means suffering more heavy losses as a result. There is expected to be a considerable amount of pressure from some Glendale taxpayers who are steadfastly against spending portions of the city’s budget on saving a floundering sports team which has such a small fan base. The NHL most likely welcomes the timing of this vote, because the sooner the fate of the franchise is resolved, the better. The NHL would incur losses over the summer months because they won’t be able to sell very many season tickets because of the uncertainly of the franchises future in Phoenix.

If the NHL does not receive a guarantee that their losses will be covered, then you can expect them to hop on the first jet out of the desert. Possible cities for relocation include the franchise’s former home, Winnipeg Manitoba, Quebec City, Hartford, and Kansas City. Winnipeg is the most logical of these choices because they have a new arena, the MTS centre, which is under six years old and seats 15, 015. The MTS centre would by far be the smallest arena in the NHL, but would be a financially viable option because of the expected sell outs for every game. A 15,000 seat arena that sells out every game would do much better than an 17,000 seat arena which has average attendance records that hover around 10,000, which is the status quo for a few surviving NHL clubs considered to be “stable”.  The 10,000 average attendance figure is being kind to some NHL clubs because many insiders believe the average attendance records to be even lower for some teams. After Winnipeg, Hamilton Ontario is probably the next most logical spot for relocation but do not expect the NHL to even consider it, after the battle they put up last summer trying to keep the Coyotes out of Hamilton.

If the club is relocated, they could be an instant winner somewhere else which makes them even more attractive if the prospect of relocation is explored. Phoenix head coach Dave Tippett is nominated for this seasons Jack Adams trophy awarded to the league’s top coach. In addition to this, Phoenix General Manager Don Maloney is nominated for the NHL’s inaugural GM of the year award, and Coyote’s goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov is nominated for the Vezina Trophy awarded to the league’s top goaltender as well. Who knows, the 2010-2011 Coyotes franchise (which would most likely be renamed) could be the next Colorado Avalanche circa 1996. We will find out Tuesday evening if that is a possibility.

The Hockey Writers

  • Steve Craig

    In addition to Barts comments, the Canadian dollar was well below the US dollar in those days and there was no revenue sharing back then. Small market Canadian teams could not survive (Winnipeg and Quebec) and Calgary and Edmonton barely did. The Jets attendance was between 11 and 13 thousand in their last few seasons, not 2 to 3. Winnipeg can obviously also not bring in the potential TV dollars that bigger US markets can, but if their are no fans in the stands you can bet none are watching on television.

  • sam kohen

    That the NHL is insisting that the City guarante $20,000,000.00 knowing fully well that in Arizona is illegal seems to me to indicate that they have thrown in the towel.

  • Bart

    Where have I seen this before? For those of you in Glendale/Phoenix that don’t know the WHOLE story/truth about why the Jets ended up becoming the Coyotes, here you go.
    1. The Jets didn’t own the building they played in, the City of Winnipeg did. The Jets didn’t see one cent from the consessions, parking or any ancillary revenues that non-hockey events would provide. There revenue stream was strickley from Ticket and Merchandise sales, plus the few dollars back then that their portion of the TV deal was worth. The owners felt they could make it work in Winnipeg if they could have control of the Arena. During the negotiations to either build a new facility and/or get control of the old one, the City of Winnipeg and Province of Manitoba agreed to cover any losses by the club, after negotiations broke down and no local ownership group could be found the team was sold to …SOUND FAMILIAR?

  • Jmc

    Let the Desert Dogs move.. I don’t know anyone that can name, let alone pronounce, 10 players on the team!! Our Tax money is needed elsewhere. See ya NHL!

  • Steve Craig

    Yes, it is highly unethical to expect the city of Glendale to pay for the NHL’s losses. The NHL wants it to work out in Phoenix because Gary Bettman absolutely hates being proven wrong. An expansion of the MTS centre would be nice, and would be a smart business move, but regardless of how big that arena is 15,000 or 17,000, it is going to sell out every game. Hamilton and southern Ontario still makes the most sense because it is an even bigger gold mine than Winnipeg, but the NHL would most likely want to make somewhere around 900 million with an expansion team in that area eventually. But, It would be sweet justice if Winnipeg could get their team back

  • Mike

    Moving the team to Winnipeg (GO JETS GO!) is the only thing that makes sense. The money is there (Thomson, Chipman, TNSE), the arena is there, albeit a bit small, and the fans never left. I would be surprised if the Coyotes sold 5000 season tickets for next year but the Jets could sell out every game. I’ve got my season ticket money ready. :)

    I’ve never understood how otherwise successful business men can work so hard to keep a team in Phoenix when the only thing that’s guaranteed is that it will lose $25+ million per year. Where did their business-sense go? And how can the banks possibly back such a venture? How can the City of Glendale allow this to go on?


    • http://www.cafedesire.com Tim

      If the ‘Jets’ could sell out every game… then why didn’t they? Have you all forgotten that you could hardly sell 2-3k seats per game and virtually no season tickets and that’s why you lost the team in the first place?

  • Justin Johnson

    Hey Steve,

    I think it would be pretty unethical to spend taxpayer money to cover losses for an NHL franchise which a poor long term forecast. I read somewhere that if Winnipeg does get a team TNSE would be willing to discuss renovation to get the MTS Centre around 17,000 seats. Either way, they have to get out of the desert. I’m sorry for the fans that are there but it just isn’t going to work.

    • CorbeauNoir


      Myth Busted – TNSE has already debunked the rumors of expanding MTS’ capacity – if anything seats will be removed to make space for media facilities.

      Indeed, it makes zero sense to expand the arena anyway. These would be third-tier seats, the cheapest ones in the arena. For however many millions of dollars it will cost to add those seats, you’re never going to see a proper return on the investment because the seats simply won’t generate enough money. MTS is operated with no debts or leases, which would be compromised with an expansion. If anything it demonstrates a shifting trend in sports where the focus is more upon generating a good balance of supply and demand instead of ‘the more the merrier’ (see the Devils, who recently moved into a smaller arena).