Arizona Coyotes Rumored To Relocate AHL Affiliate To Tucson

Sep 22, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Arizona Coyotes center Dylan Strome (20) scores a goal past Los Angeles Kings goalie Jhonas Enroth (1) in the first period at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 22, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Arizona Coyotes center Dylan Strome (20) scores a goal past Los Angeles Kings goalie Jhonas Enroth (1) in the first period at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports /
facebooktwitterreddit

Several reports have indicated that the Arizona Coyotes are considering moving their AHL affiliate to Tucson.

The Arizona Coyotes’ AHL affiliate is the Springfield Falcons. For now.

It’s a long, long trip from Glendale, AZ to Springfield, MA. 2,608 miles to be exact.

The Coyotes would like to see that number lessened for the purposes of injuries and recalls. A shorter travel time would make all those roster moves much more palatable.

It’s also fair to surmise that the Coyotes are looking at purchasing an AHL franchise and relocating it to Tucson to spread the footprint of hockey in Arizona.

Craig Morgan of Arizona Sports reported that “two sources familiar with the talks confirmed that officials with the City of Tucson had multiple meetings recently with the Coyotes to discuss an AHL team playing its games at the Tucson Convention Center beginning in the 2016-17 season.”

More from Howlin' Hockey

If this move comes to fruition, it would be a huge boon for the Arizona Coyotes and the growth of their brand in the desert.

It’s a mere two hours and some change drive from Glendale to Tucson, which would allow much greater roster flexibility for whatever general manager replaces the recently departed Don Maloney. Beyond the convenience for the team, it would also allow Coyotes fans in Tucson and even here in the Phoenix area a chance to see the team’s prospects first hand before they crack the big club.

If Christian Dvorak and Conor Garland don’t make the Arizona Coyotes’ roster next season, wouldn’t it be nice to be able to take a relatively short drive over to Tucson and see the Yotes’ future stars skating in real contests?

The report was unable to get a comment from Rio Nuevo District Board Chairman Fletcher McCusker, but McCusker did say that the Tucson Convention Center “would not meet current league requirements for the back office areas including the locker room, training rooms, weight rooms and medical areas so that would be part of any conversation,” McCusker said. “We’ve always been interested in finding a pro team but we really don’t know the status of what the Coyotes want to do.”

Before that can happen, however, the Arizona Coyotes have to find a team to purchase. Craig Morgan’s report implied that a purchase may be imminent, though the team that will be on the move is unknown at this point.

Next: What Does Maloney's Firing Mean For The Coyotes Moving Forward?

With the AHL moving out west en masse last season with the creation of a Pacific Division, it only makes sense for the Coyotes to jump on board that train.

It makes too much business sense for the team, both on the ice and in the all-important battle for the hearts of fans in the desert.