It was a perfect time for the organization to announce the name change. A win over the Los Angeles Kings, a team that has been a thorn in the side of the Coyotes since their inception from a city that enrages Arizonans to no end, signified a move toward inclusion for a franchise burdened with statewide indifference. I wrote about it last week. Funny how soon the move came after that article. But I’m no profit or league insider. Just someone who understands the climate of Arizona Sports.
I can remember when the Arizona Cardinals were the Phoenix Cardinals. That was a tough sell to small towns throughout the state. In places like Globe, Yuma and even Tucson, no one wanted anything to do with something from Phoenix. Now, since Michael Bidwill has taken the reigns, the name has changed and the team has had recent success (yes I’m calling a Super Bowl appearance six years ago recent, things move slower in the desert, thank you) you can find Cardinal red in almost every corner of Zona.
Obviously the team is hoping for some sort of acceptance by changing the name from the Phoenix Coyotes to the Arizona Coyotes. But if they want real success they need to look to how they handled the Kings on Tuesday night and use their play as a model for moving forward. A new name or logo won’t do a darn thing in the Win column if sound fundamentals and sharp focus are not in play. No matter how many new jerseys, caps and t-shirts you sell you’ll never see the real kind of success that constant restructuring and tinkering with the line up will bring. You want to make a splash in your chosen market Coyotes? Keep that 4th line strong. Pay no mind to what word hangs over your mascots head.
This change, like the change from Smith to Greiss, was a long time coming. In fact, I find it hard to believe it took them this long. The only ice in Phoenix can be found swirling around in cocktails at your local bar. Now that the marketing geniuses have finally come around, maybe the added pressure of having the entire states eyes on them will wake up the rest of the team. Wishful and unrealistic thinking, I know. But hey, I’m an Arizona Sports Fan. If I wasn’t wishful and unrealistic, I’d probably root for some dumb “winning” team from LA.
That’s all for now. The Yotes face off against the Buffalo Sabres tonight and it looks to be a bit of a revenge bout. Expect the Coyotes to sink their teeth in deep and pull out another win at home. Until then, stay ornery Arizona.