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A farewell to the Arizona Coyotes

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Photo credit:Allan Henry-USA TODAY Sports
Liam Horrobin
17 days ago
It was an emotional farewell to Arizona last night for the Coyotes, now bound for Utah. The Desert Dogs went out with a bang, putting five on the board in a 5-2 win over the Edmonton Oilers. The Coyotes went out similarly to the Winnipeg Jets in 1996, packing their arena with fans all in white shirts.
Liam O’Brien started the scoring, and the Coyotes never looked back. Lawson Crouse, Mattias Maccelli, Dylan Guenther, and Sean Durzi got the fans out of their seats for the final time, contributing to the final score. The energy for that finale was something the Oilers couldn’t match in a meaningless game for the Copper and Blue.
The man at the centre of this move, Alex Meruelo, failed to secure a full-time home last night, which was a surprise to few. As Paul Bissonnette said on the TNT broadcast post-game, “I know that hockey belongs in the desert. I know it will be back there. I don’t want the owners now to be the ones that bring it back.”
Frank Seravalli from Daily Faceoff, who broke the news about the Coyotes’ departure, joined Oilersnation Everyday with Tyler Yaremchuk earlier this week to discuss the final days of desert hockey.
“I think this is a win-win-win for everyone,” said Frank Seravaill on Oilersnation Everyday. “It’s a win for the NHL to get out from Alex Meruelo. It’s a win to finally get this franchise into the hands of a proper steward who can support this team. Another win for them going to one of the fastest growing markets in the United States.”
“How is this a win for Coyotes fans? Stability is the win for Coyotes fans when they get a new arena and likely a new owner the next time . They haven’t had any. It’s been a toxic mess and chaos for two decades now. I believe in the market, but you’ll have to endure a few painful years without a team. When you finally get one, you can compete on a level ice surface with everyone else in the NHL.”
The NHL has proven that returning to a market that has lost a team works. Of course, the most recent example is the Winnipeg Jets, who ironically became the Coyotes. However, Minnesota is the most similar team to the Coyotes. The NHL moved the Northstars to Dallas in 1993 after an almost 30-year stay in the State of Hockey. Once the organization built a new arena, the NHL returned in 2000, and nobody has ever questioned Minnesota’s ability to host an NHL team since.
Could this be the Coyotes? Gary Bettman wanted to see the Phoenix market succeed. However, they need more plans for the future. On April 8th, the Coyotes announced a plan to build a new complex in the Scottsdale area. The Scottsdale Mayor didn’t have much positive to say about the plans, stating that they are “not feasible or welcome,” which isn’t promising.
Craig Morgan reported that professional hockey might not be completely dead next season. There’s a chance the Tuscon Roadrunners, who Meruelo also owns, will play their home games at the Mullett Arena next season. That process is still ongoing, but moving the Roadrunners to Tempe would help Meruelo finish the lease agreement that he has standing with Arizona State University and Mullett Arena.
While the Roadrunners are a secondary prize for fans in the desert, at least hockey stays alive in the Greater Phoenix area. With the conversations that have gone on over these past couple of weeks, this isn’t goodbye to the Coyotes but more of a see you later. When will that be? Who knows. We know that a plan for the future, including a new rink, needs to be in place before they return. Until then, Salt Lake City will soon have a young, exciting, up-and-coming team in their city .

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