Phoenix fans not amused

What supporters Coyotes do have passionate about keeping them

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GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The sunset on Wednesday night here in the American southwest, was spectacular.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 21/04/2011 (4131 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

GLENDALE, Ariz. — The sunset on Wednesday night here in the American southwest, was spectacular.

Ribbons of pink interacted with a pale blue sky and painted the horizon from a pallet of brilliant colors.

The sun may also set, just as dramatically, on the Phoenix Coyotes, a franchise long in financial turmoil and short of any definitive solution. Their future in the desert has been in jeopardy for nearly two years, and the franchise has not had a viable, visible owner since Jerry Moyes filed for bankruptcy in June, 2009.

Ross D. Franklin / the associated press Coyotes fan Rob Jenning of Gilbert, Ariz., holds up a sign in support of the Coyotes staying in Arizona, prior to Game 4 Wednesday.

As the Coyotes took on Detroit in Game Four of the Western Conference quarter-final round Wednesday night in Jobing.com Arena, many wondered whether the contest would be the final NHL game played in the building. Rumors continue to circulate of the Coyotes imminent demise and relocation.

So far, the NHL, which acquired ownership of the franchise in the summer of 2009, has been unable to find a suitable buyer and reluctant to entertain offers of relocation.

For now, the status quo remains, and for Coyotes fans, the entire scenario is maddening. The prospect of losing the Coyotes, physically, emotionally, and from a fan base, remains difficult to accept. A random gathering of thoughts outside Jobing.com Arena prior to Game Four, confirms the obvious among the faithful.

“I hate it, it definitely sucks,” says Ron Martin, a native of Detroit, who moved the Phoenix area 30 years ago. “I’m a big-time Coyotes fans, and I blame the Goldwater Institute for this mess.”

Goldwater, a conservative think tank based in Phoenix, has threatened to sue the city of Glendale, site of Jobing.com Arena, if the city obtains bonds, and uses that money to keep the Coyotes in Arizona.

“I think the biggest mistake which could happen is have the team move,” said Bill Orr, who lives Phoenix. “The fan base is here and I echo what I’ve heard from many fans that the whole situation just plain sucks.”

To be fair, the economic reality surrounding the Coyotes is not encouraging. The team had only four sellouts in 41 home games, and drew a season-low of 6,706 for a game against the Kings Oct. 21. Television ratings are miserable, and local media coverage is marginal at best. The franchise continues to lose between $25 and $30 million a year.

“Generally, this is not a good situation,” said Teresa Hachty from Phoenix, who was standing outside the main gate waiting for the doors to open with her husband Allan. “Look, we’re not Phoenix fans, but NHL fans. We try to get to as many games as we can, and you just know the Coyotes need to remain here.”

Fans outside the arena said there is plenty of blame to assess. Nonetheless, an ominous dark cloud is beginning to form above Jobing.com Arena, and fear and skepticism abound.

“It is what it is, what can you do,” said Mike Ruggles, who commutes more than 70 miles one way to attend Coyotes home games. “Who do I blame? How about Moyes, and everyone else who mismanaged the team to this point.”

 

— Special to The Free Press

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