Coyotes Proving Arena Size Doesn’t Matter

Home advantage, whether it be ice, field, stadium, court, etc., is a very real thing when it comes to sports. No matter the size of the venue, teams greatly benefit from playing in front of their home crowd. The Arizona Coyotes know this, and despite playing in front of only 4,600 fans, have been surging early this season when it comes to playing at Mullett Arena.

Mullett Arena, Arizona Coyotes, Arizona State University
Mullett Arena (Kyvuh, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons)

Through the team’s first 12 games at their temporary home, the Coyotes have compiled a record of 7-3-2, including a recent 3-0-0 homestand that concluded with a 6-3 win against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Dec. 30. Despite the small size, the Coyotes have been feeding off the fan energy and atmosphere, where they’re 6-1-1 in their last seven home games.

What the Players Are Saying

Not only are fans raving about the atmosphere at Mullett Arena, the players are as well. Defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere recently spoke with NHL Network about the atmosphere and how the environment is unlike any other. Other players such as Lawson Crouse have raved about the temporary home as well and the recent success they’ve been having. “We’re playing well here. The atmosphere out there is fun to play in. Our fans give us a lot of energy, so we just have to keep the wins coming here.”

Related: Coyotes Move To ASU Signals Team’s Commitment To The Valley

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Coyote players aren’t the only ones raving about the atmosphere and ice conditions at Mullett Arena either. Winnipeg Jets center Pierre-Luc Dubois told ESPN’s Leah Hextall earlier this season that the ice just might be the best in the NHL, and his teammate Cole Perfetti agreed saying, “the ice is great, it was unbelievable” when the Jets came to town for Arizona’s inaugural game at Tempe.

The praise didn’t stop there. Florida Panthers forward Matthew Tkachuk, as well as New York Rangers forward Alexis Lafrenière and Wild forward Ryan Reaves all echoed those statements made by the Jets, with Reaves even going as far as saying the playing surface is unreal.

The Wins Keep Coming at Mullett

All praise aside, the Coyotes are proving to be no pushover as of late, especially when it comes to home games. They’ve pulled off upset wins over Boston, Toronto, and recently the defending Stanley Cup champion Colorado Avalanche. They’ve looked like a completely different team on home ice compared to on the road.

Lawson Crouse Arizona Coyotes
Lawson Crouse, Arizona Coyotes (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

All thanks go to the fan base for showing up night in and night out, as well as the stellar play from breakout forward Lawson Crouse, and outstanding goaltending from netminder Karel Vejmelka. The intensity the team has displayed is something to admire, as well as something that opponents coming to Mullett Arena should account for.

Relishing the Next Three Years

The Coyotes are currently slated to play at Mullett Arena for the next three seasons as they wait for a final vote on their proposed arena and entertainment district in May. While they await word on their future, the Coyotes will certainly be relishing the exposure over the next three seasons at their temporary home.

The move to Arizona State University signaled the ownership’s and organization’s commitment to the Valley. After a rocky relationship with Glendale over the past few seasons, which put the future of the Coyotes in Arizona at stake, the organization has turned the chapter and continues to build a strong bond with the state and their new home of Tempe. Owner Alex Meruelo has stated his loyalty to the state of Arizona and his desire to build a championship team in the Valley of the Sun. The future sits on the horizon, but until then, the Coyotes will continue to surge at Mullett Arena.

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