I’m one of many hockey observers that Coyotes fans, whoever they may be, claim to have an agenda at all times against the Yotes. And on some level, it’s fair, because it is hypocritical to talk often at length about the place teams have for fans in their lives and the public trust that they really are and then turn around and call for the Coyotes to be punted out of Arizona at the quickest convenience. However many Coyotes fans there may be, they are owed the same patience and understanding.
And then you see shit like this, and it becomes clear that it’s none of our faults that Coyotes ownership and Gary Bettman’s insistence on installing whatever fuckwit he hits with a thrown brick to buy this husk haven’t lived up to their dedication:
The caveat here is that this is only the temporary set-up for visiting teams at Mullett Arena, but it’s also important to consider the entire context. Mullett Arena is the temporary solution the Coyotes came up with, essentially playing in a warehouse outfitted to be a college arena because A) they were booted out of the arena they foisted upon the residents of Glendale because they were such shitty tenants in every way and B) they still don’t have a permanent solution.
We’ll get to the second and most galling aspect there in a second. But again, this is the temporary solution, because the away team facilities at this temporary solution for the homeless Yotes aren’t ready yet. So why should they get to play a home game at all? It’s not fair to the Jets, Rangers, Panthers, and Stars, who will all have to use this COVID-era quarantine tank as their facilities for a real NHL game. The Islanders had a real arena being readied last season and were forced to be on the road for over a month until it was ready in every way to host an NHL game, which included the proper facilities for the road team.
And now circling back to the worst part of this, at least from an optics standpoint, is that this isn’t the Coyotes serving out a waiting period while a true arena is built. This isn’t the Blue Jays exiled to Buffalo. It’s not the Chargers playing in a soccer stadium. The Coyotes don’t have a certain stadium solution! The Tempe council has agreed to move forward in working with them to get to an agreement to build an arena there, but they haven’t come close to clearing every hurdle yet. It may not happen at all. There is nothing sure about this. The Coyotes could very well be a university’s tenant with no end or for no purpose other than Bettman not wanting to admit a defeat.
There are arenas ready to go in Kansas City, or Quebec City, or Houston, or Portland. Wouldn’t that be a better solution while the Coyotes figure out if they can even build an arena in Tempe? As well as a barometer of whether any of those places could take the Coyotes full-time? Certainly, there would be proper facilities. And how many teams get to build two arenas where one already failed and the next, if ever built, is hardly certain to succeed? The Coyotes were such a financial drain they got kicked out of Glendale. Do we know it’ll be different in Tempe?
Yeah, it’s only four games. But it’s four games in what is already a joke of a solution. Would the other three leagues accept this?
The NHL will probably get the players on the four visiting teams that have to put up with this to toe the line. They’ll say it’s just part of the grind, it’s not so bad, it’s one game, they’re hockey players, the regular season tosses up a lot of challenges, etc. They may very well be instructed to.
At this point, it’s important to note that if the Coyotes sell every ticket this year, they’ll average 5,000 fans per game. The Thrashers, whom the NHL never lifted a finger to save, averaged 13K in their last season in the Dirty South.
It’s nothing short of a joke. It has been for a decade or more. And yet the bar keeps sinking.