Finally The Phoenix Coyotes Can Focus On Hockey

Finally Phoenix Coyotes On-Ice Talk Only

It’s the middle of July and for the first time in almost five years I will be going into a Phoenix Coyotes season talking about hockey and hockey only.  WHAT!!  Is this finally over? Well to make it official it has to be approved by the NHL Board of Governors.  That will be the easiest vote concerning the Coyotes they’ve had to make in years so that should be no problem. Arena Arena

I have to admit that I was very angry at the negative attention this story was getting from media outlets around North American and the twitter bickering between people in Quebec, Phoenix and Seattle.  I get the passion. The fans in Quebec and Seattle were given the false hope of getting a NHL team by over-zealous media reports and the league itself using these cities as leverage to get the Phoenix situation resolved.  I was extremely annoyed by comments made by of some of my friends and colleagues but it’s over now and I’m going to just be happy with the result and take the high road.

I will acknowledge the fact that the long running soap opera that was the Phoenix ownership situation made it an easy target for the Nay Sayers.  Lets not forget the lean times in Chicago 6-7 years ago until they changed their fortunes.  Let us also look at Pittsburg that had to be saved not once but twice.  Has everybody forgotten the money owed to Mario Lemieux ownership fiasco.  How about round two when they were on shaky ground and had the franchise’s fortune changed by the “behind closed doors magic Sidney Crosby lottery pick”.  So lets just all play nice.

Right or wrong I never thought the Coyotes were going anywhere and like I mentioned in an earlier article the fans of the Phoenix Coyotes better fight for this team with their wallets now.  This includes the corporate community also. arena has a bunch of private suites that need to be filled.  These suites are a major revenue steam for most franchise in today’s NHL.  IT’S BIG REVENUE.

I’m not going to debate in the argument about the lease agreement between the COG and the Ice Arizona  group  headed by George Gosbee and Anthony LeBlanc.  I don’t dare to pretend to be qualified enough to understand the nuances of a complicated deal like this one.  What I can comment on now is that it looks like the hopes of Coyotes fans for the next five years are in the hands of this hybrid group of owners.

Enter Ice Arizona

If Ice Arizona can do their work in the corporate community and the fans can come out to Glendale and support this team every game there is no reason why this team can’t succeed long-term in Arizona.  It would be nice to see General Manager Don Maloney actually have a real hockey budget.  I have no delusions about the Coyotes spending to the salary cap but never has a GM done so much with so little.

A lot has happened in the last couple of months.

1. G.M. Don Maloney signed a new contract so the team is in great hands again.

2.  The Phoenix Coyotes re-signed the best coach in the NHL in Dave Tippett.

3.  Unrestricted Free Agent goalie Mike Smith signed a long-term contract with the team.

4.  The team FINALLY has an owner.

5.  On June 30 the Phoenix Coyotes used their first round draft pick to select the London Knight’s Max Domi.

For you Phoenix Coyotes fans that don’t know, Max is the son of former NHLer Tie Domi. Tie Domi played for 15 yeas in the NHL for three teams.  He played for the New York Rangers, Winnipeg Jets and Toronto Maple Leafs.  It was during his playing days in Winnipeg  when Max was born.

Mike Ribeiro (Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports)
Mike Ribeiro (Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports)

6.  On July 5 the start of the Free Agent period the team went out and signed a front line center in Mike Ribeiro.  The Coyotes haven’t had a top offensive center like Ribeiro for a few years so this is a nice addition.

In what looked like bleak times a couple months ago with the uncertainty of the franchise, an un-signed brain trust and no starting goalie it will be fun to see how things progress in the next few months.  As a hockey fan I look forward to September and the start of training camp anyway but this year even more-so with the changes and additions.

I really hope everybody does their share to make this team a strong functioning franchise in the NHL and we don’t have to take a back seat to anyone.  I really want to gloat and say “I told you so” but I probably won’t.  I’ll just continue taking the high road to Arizona for six months every winter watching hockey, playing golf and loving life.