Dec 15, 2011; Glendale, AZ, USA; Phoenix Coyotes left wing Ray Whitney (13) receives a commemorative poster from general manager Don Maloney for 600 career assists prior to the game against the Edmonton Oilers at Jobing.com Arena. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-US PRESSWIRE

#1 In Our Hearts, #6 In North America


ESPN The Magazine published a story that is what we Coyote fans know. The Coyotes are the top franchise in the NHL in their Ultimate Standings and number 6 for all of North America. The Ultimate Standings were created from fan feedback (56,000 participated) in what they want from their team. The criteria is below. I’ve linked the story and the methodology in how the rankings are generated separately in The Hub. The Ultimate Standings individual rankings are (bold in parenthesis). My comments are in italics.

Bang For The Buck (BNG): Wins during the past three years (regular season plus postseason) per revenues directly from fans, adjusted for league schedules. (2) Making the playoffs three years in a row and going to the conference finals will do that.

Fan Relations (FRL): Openness and consideration toward fans by players, coaches and management. (22) I cannot think of a more open General Manager than Don Maloney. Coach Tippett always answers questions at press conferences and attends the season ticket holder events. The players are probably the best in all of sports. When you have Shane Doan as your captain, he leads by example and from the front. That is why he wins the Masterson and the Messier awards. 

Ownership (OWN): Honesty and loyalty to core players and local community. (100) Our owner is the NHL. Gary Bettman gets at least 1 question every week on his SiriusXM Radio show on the Home Ice channel. He does not duck the question, has laid the blame at Goldwater when needed, and talked about the difficulty in dealing with Glendale. He was in court every day three summers ago and has said he will do all he can to keep a franchise here in Glendale. Mr. Bettman has delivered on his promise. He does owe us an All-Star weekend though.

Affordability (AFF): Price of tickets, parking and concessions. (2) Free parking, ticket prices that are the second lowest in hockey, and dollar beer nights keep the fans happy. 

Stadium Experience (STX): Quality of arena and game-day promotions as well as friendliness of environment. (37) Jobing.com is one of the best arenas to see a game. Every seat has perfect lines and the concourse is spacious with good concessions. The suites and club areas give you the in-stadium feel without being cold and sterile. Game day promotions could use some work. 

Players (PLA): Effort on the field and likability off it. (11) Shane Doan is your leader. Enough said.

Coaching (CCH): Strength of on-field leadership. (6) If you have ever been to a practice, you have seen Coach Tippett on the ice running the drills. This is true during training camp and the regular season. Sean Burke is dressed in his goalie gear to work with Smitty and Jason. Coaches Anderson and Playfair putting the players through their paces. And to have a legend like Dave King working with younger players in development is something most teams cannot imagine. Then you have Mark Ciaccio as your skating coach. It is no wonder the skating of the Coyotes is considered a strength.

Title Track (TTR): Championships already won or expected in the lifetime of current fans. (67) They have not won a Championship. That should change in my lifetime. I’m a Bills fan who saw them lose 4 straight Super Bowls. You must Believe. 

If you look at the bottom of the standing, you see Winnipeg, Vancouver, Calgary, Montreal, Edmonton, then Columbus, followed by the Islanders. Bringing up the bottom was Toronto.

To see Toronto maintain their consistency as being the lowest ranked franchise is a feat that must be applauded. Tickets are not affordable, they don’t win, they miss the playoffs, the players are shielded from the fans. The front office is not the most open. The Air Canada center is the the most positive feature of the ranking, at a 104. It begs the question “If it is so bad, why do so many go to the games?” They were worse than the Islanders. I didn’t think that was possible.

Tags: ESPN The Magazine Phoenix Coyotes Shane Doan Ultimate Standings