The NHL has had a pet project for the past half-dozen years or so: the Arizona Coyotes. Hell, they were originally the Phoenix Coyotes when they came from Winnipeg in one of the worst franchise moves of any sport. The situation that the current “Yotes” face is one of absolute ridiculousness; they do not have a place to play their home games. The government of the city of Glendale has decided in its infinite wisdom to lock out the NHL franchise by ripping up their arena contract mere months before the team is set to step back onto the ice for the next season. The reason that the government ended the deal was for two reasons. First, the team has lost a grand total of $30 million over the past fiscal year, which includes the government giving them $15 million as part of the original arena deal. Second, a representative of the government’s negotiating committee during the arena deal flipped over to the Coyotes right after the deal was done. The government actually had a clause in the agreement in which if someone defected to the other side, the deal was open to being cancelled. A lot of people have been bagging on the Glendale officials for the way they have handled the whole situation, but I have one response to their actions; it’s about damn time! The Coyotes should not be in the state of Arizona to begin with. There are so many better places that the team could relocate to in a manner of months; here are the three that have been rumored.
1) Seattle: Seattle is the perfect market for a team like the Coyotes to move because of the rich sports atmosphere that already exists. The Seattle Mariners have one of the best fan bases despite being in a relatively small market comparative to other MLB teams. The Seattle Seahawks are not only just a year removed from hoisting the Vince Lombardi trophy, but they have the best fans in the NFL. The 12th man has never been as stronger in the northwest of the United States. Put in a team that, not only is a playoff contender most of the time, but has one of the best prospect talent pools in the entire league. With the likes of Tobias Reider and Oliver Ekman-Larson already anchoring the offense and defensive cores, the Yotes have young guns Max Domi and Anthony Duclair rising through the ranks. Now add 2 more 1st round draft picks in this year’s NHL draft and now the Coyotes are a team that the Seattle fans can go nuts over in the next couple of years. Couple the exciting team with the natural rivalry that will inevitably come to an outstanding boiling point with the Vancouver Canucks. Canucks fans should not kid themselves, their team is definitely an even match with the Yotes, especially in the next few years. The goaltending matchup already is intriguing with Miller and Smith between the pipes. I know that Smith has had a pretty rough time of it since leaving Russia with a gold medal around his neck. But, if he can gain back his form, there is no reason that the Seattle fans will have to go through much growing pains. The Seattle market has been itching to have an NHL team for a while; give it to them.
2) Quebec City: Talk about an automatic heated rivalry. Having the Habs against a team that could give them a run for their money is something that every fan east of Manitoba wants to see badly. Having fairly team genetics, the Yotes would instantly have a team that they could measure themselves against every year while creating some much need tension in Quebec. No longer will the focus of the Francophone’s be separating from our country, but now will have the biggest NHL games at least 6 times a year, with the chance of dismantling the young squad. Fans of the Nordiques are still in pain for losing Sakic, Forsberg, and Wendell Clark to Denver Colorado. The city has already made some significant steps towards inviting a franchise back to Quebec City by upgrading their arena as well as gauging the ticket sales that they would get through a petition. The only problem with Quebec City is that their city is still too fresh from losing their team in the eyes of the NHL elite, as well as, the Montreal Canadiens ownership not wanting the new team to damage their ticket sales by offering cheaper tickets for relatively the same quality of team. Some of the bigger franchises in the NHL have the power to veto any teams that they perceive to be encroaching on their potential ticket demographic. The odds for Quebec getting another team any time soon is very slim.
3) Las Vegas: Just when you thought that the NHL being in the dessert of Arizona was a dumbass idea, they go and top themselves by wanting to take the same team and move them to another hot as hades location. Does Gary Bettman not realize that he is dealing with an ICE HOCKEY team? People in both Arizona and Las Vegas don’t want to see a bunch of dudes skating on the ice that they would rather have on their glass. Las Vegas is a city where people go to gamble, have sex with overpriced hookers, and watch Penn and Teller bring back a mammoth from the dead and then proceed to cut it in pieces. Sports that have had success include the UFC and boxing. What do those two have in common that other sports do not? They are one-off events that people can flock to for the weekend. The NHL would literally have to schedule all of the Coyotes home games on the weekend or they would have as much fans show up as a preseason Florida Panthers game (less than 500). It’s all fun and games to have the NHL awards in Vegas because most NHL players and their families will show up, and Evander Kane will flaunt some his Sabres money while doing blow off a tigers back with his shirt off. There is no redeeming reason why the NHL would survive in Vegas, and to have the people running our great game think that this is a suitable location is quite frankly terrifying. There is a reason that the NFL, MLB, and NBA have not touched Sin City with a 25 foot pole.
In conclusion, the NHL should just move the Arizona Coyotes to Seattle so that they are in a city that will make the league money and give Vancouver fans a great rivalry for years to come. I am Smoke Stark and this has been my rant on the Arizona Coyotes mess. In the Game of Thrones, you either win or you die.