The Math Behind the Coyotes’ Preseason Tour

Did you know the Arizona Coyotes haven’t played a preseason game at home in two years, or, at least, a game in or around Phoenix, Arizona? The team has had maybe the worst preseason schedule since moving to Tempe during the construction of Mullett Arena last season and the busy schedule at the arena this season. With that, the Coyotes will be all over North America, so I thought it would be fun to compare the Coyotes’ preseason schedule to other teams around the league.

The Coyotes’ Schedule

The Coyotes’ worldwide tour will be split-squad to begin the preseason (and probably most of the preseason), as half of the team will fly to Melbourne, Australia, to play the Los Angeles Kings in the first NHL games in the country. The teams will play each other twice on Sept. 22 and 23 at Rod Laver Arena. Meanwhile, the other half of the team will fly to Missouri to play the St. Louis Blues in St. Louis on Sept. 22 at Enterprise Center and again on Sept. 23 in Wichita, Kansas, at Intrust Bank Arena. 

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The midwest Coyotes group will most likely then fly to Cedar Park, Texas, to play the Dallas Stars in H-E-B Center on Sept. 24. The organization will have a five-day break before heading to Las Vegas to play the defending Stanley Cup champion Vegas Golden Knights at T-Mobile Arena on Sept. 29. They then play the Anaheim Ducks for three straight games at three different locations: at Acrisure Arena in Palm Springs on Oct. 1; at Honda Center in Anaheim on Oct. 5; and finally, at Tucson Convention Center Arena, their only game in Arizona, on Oct. 7 to end the preseason.

Andre Tourigny Arizona Coyotes
Andre Tourigny, Arizona Coyotes (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

So that’s nine games in eight different locations. The Coyotes will be in six states, two countries, and four time zones in the span of two weeks. That’s an incredible amount of travel.

The Math Behind the Travel

Starting with the big trip, the distance from Tempe to Melbourne is 8,227 miles. Double that because the Coyotes will (obviously) return to Arizona, so that’s 16,454 miles traveled so far. St. Louis is 1,447 miles away from Tempe, and Wichita is 441 miles away from the gateway city. The distance is now 18,342 miles traveled, and that’s with less than half of the preseason played.

Let’s assume that the group in Wichita travels directly to Cedar Park. Those two cities are 539 miles apart. The Coyotes have that five-day break between games, so let’s say the Coyotes return to Tempe, 993 miles away. The total is now 19,874 miles. Add another 310 miles to get to Las Vegas, and we’re now at a whopping 20,184 miles.

The final stretch is a bit easier. Assuming the Coyotes fly from Vegas back to Arizona, there’s the 310-mile trip again. The team then travels to Palm Springs, which is 280 miles away from Tempe, before they head up the coast to Anaheim (assuming that they don’t go back to Arizona during the four-day break), 93 miles north of Acrisure Arena.

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The team will then embark on its final flight to Tucson, which is 467 miles back east, and then head 107 miles north, back home to Tempe. Over the course of two weeks, the total mileage is 21,441 miles. If you’re looking for hours on a plane, 47 hours is the grand total (which is also assuming the team doesn’t use any other form of transportation, like a bus).

Compared to Other NHL Teams

Comparing that number to a Western team and an Eastern team, we’ll use the Colorado Avalanche in the west since they are the farthest away from any team. The Avalanche play back-to-back games in Denver before flying to Minnesota to play the Minnesota Wild. They’ll then travel back to Colorado and play the Stars before heading to Texas to play them again. They’ll cap it all off by flying to Las Vegas and playing the Golden Knights. The final mileage? 4,598 miles. Not even half as much as the Coyotes.

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We’ll use the Florida Panthers as the example out east since they are the most southern team. The Panthers will play the Nashville Predators twice at home, then travel up to North Carolina to play the Carolina Hurricanes. They’ll go back to Florida to play the Hurricanes again and then take a trip all the way to Canada to play the Ottawa Senators. Finally, they’ll fly to Orlando to play the Tampa Bay Lightning, who they then play in Tampa Bay, and then back home to Sunrise to finish off the preseason. The total distance is 7,457 miles, which is still not even half the mileage the Coyotes will be traveling. 

Coyotes Mileage

So, the Coyotes are going to be on a world tour this preseason, and we’ll see how much the travel time affects them. While bringing the Coyotes all over the world will improve their brand, make new fans, and bring the sport into nontraditional areas, the NHL has given them a ridiculous schedule compared to other teams, including Florida, who will be traveling to one of the most eastern Canadian cities but their overall mileage doesn’t even come close to the Coyotes’. We’ll soon find out what this traveling will do to the team, and they’ll certainly be playing hundreds of rounds of card games over the 20,000 miles they’ll cover.

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