I ran into some lads from Vancouver recently. We talked about where we were from, and when I said I am from Phoenix, they asked if I knew hockey. I showed them I was wearing my Coyote t-shirt, and they said it was the first time they had met or seen a Coyote fan. When we talked hockey, they were amazed I knew anything. Their knowledge of what is going on in Phoenix is:
- Poor attendance due to the arena being on the wrong side of town. I had no argument but did point out attendance was equal to several teams like Dallas and Anaheim. Season ticket sales are up over the last two years. The team is giving out less free tickets that ever before. The wrong side of town statement was refueted with the discussion on how the freeways to the arena are three lane plus a HOV. Meaning, 45 minutes is the maximum from the east valley it will take to get there.
- There is no youth hockey in the Phoenix. I pointed out the five rinks, how Scottsdale Coyote Ice has just put in a third sheet, and the number of kids playing is fairly large for a desert community. There are several AAA travel teams, and house leagues in Scottsdale had to make a fifth team due to the volume of kids in the Mite and Squirt division.
- Passion. The only times the arena is full is when Detroit comes to town or they are in the playoffs. I refuted with how John Davidson, GM of St. Louis Blues, remarked that he wants Detroit to stay in the West as they are good for business. Coming four times a year means four sellout dates. Phil Espisito said Tampe Bay Lightning like having Detroit come to town as they sell out that building as well. The Red Wing Nation is strong. As far as lack of passion, all they had to do was look in the stands when Doaner got his hat trick. Men and women had tears of joy running down their cheeks. That is passion.
If you can, wear a hat or sweatshirt with the Coyote logo. Get a Coyote window sticker for your car. They are given out free in the parking lot of each game. Fly the flag. Let your passion shine through.