In all of this mad rushing around to save the Phoenix Coyotes, no one has yet sufficiently suggested even a vague reason why the City of Glendale, Arizona, would want to pay somebody to buy a National Hockey League team in order to guarantee that the team stays in Arizona.
I won’t bore you with the details of an alleged lease agreement that may or may not be legal in the State of Arizona, but Dave Shoalts at the Globe and Mail will and you can read it here. Suffice it to say, the financial finagling and heart-stopping emotion of the Save the Coyotes effort, seems more like a favor to NHL commissioner Gary Bettman than a necessary effort to save 41 dates in jobing.com Arena.
I mean, really. Seriously. All these financial gifts to potential owners of an NHL team in the southwestern U.S. desert is being done to save 41 dates in an Arena that could easily fill them — one hopes — with rock concerts, skating shows, indoor soccer, lacrosse, arena football and walks with animatronic dinosaurs. But hockey? Why would anyone give away taxpayers money in Arizona to save the NHL unless one was doing it to soothe Bettman’s fragile ego.
The overwhelming number of non-hockey fans in Phoenix have spoken. Nobody cares. Sure, the ‘Yotes got nice crowds in the first round of the playoffs, but during the regular season, the building was virtually empty. And don’t believe the numbers spewed out during attendence announcements. There were never half as many people in the building as the announced crowd.
Folks in Phoenix don’t care about hockey. They care about basketball, football and baseball: Traditional sports in a southern market. Why the city fathers in Glendale, Ariz., would sell their Republican souls to give a bunch a Canadians millions of dollars to keep a hockey team in their local arena is head-scratching. It makes no sense whatsoever.
Spending taxpayers money to keep a hockey team in Canada makes sense. Spending taxpayers money to keep a baseball team in Arizona makes sense. Spending taxpayers money to keeping a hockey team in Arizona is crazy.
And that’s why I’m still convinced — that and the fact True North Sports & Entertainment no longer denies they’re in line to acquire the Coyotes — that the NHL is coming to Winnipeg sooner, not later.