Phoenix Coyotes claim that season tickets sales are 'significantly higher' than previous reports


Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for emptyseats.jpgA few days ago, I passed along reports that the Phoenix Coyotes only managed to sell about 1,800 season tickets for next season, so far. That number seemed ridiculously low – even for a team with as many problems as the Yotes – and the team refutes that number. Here’s more from the Phoenix Business Journal.

“The report is incorrect – the number is much higher. It’s also worth noting that renewal rates are higher than they’ve been in three years and new season ticket sales have already topped last year and are on pace to be better than the past few years as well,” said Coyotes spokesman Rob Crean.

Crean wouldn’t say how many season tickets the Coyotes have sold.

“We don’t release that information, but like I said it is significantly higher,” Crean said.

The Coyotes ranked last in attendance last season in the NHL averaging just under 12,000 fans at Arena in Glendale, according to ESPN. The arena seats 17,100 for hockey. The Coyotes did see an attendance boost towards the end of the season and their first playoff appearance since 2002.

Who knows what counts for “significantly higher.” A thousand more? Three thousand more? Maybe 2,500 people signed up for season ticket deals?

Regardless, that 1,800 number did sound a little low.

Either way, the Coyotes’ sales will likely live and die with the team’s success. Sure, just about any sports team’s ticket sales (even Canadian ones) swell in size thanks to so-called “bandwagon fans,” but that holds especially true with NHL squads in “non-traditional” markets such as Phoenix. You can bet the league is rooting for Dave Tippett, Ilya Bryzgalov and the rest of the Coyotes to make good on their breakthrough 2009-10 campaign next season. Especially if the team’s protracted sale drags on into the 10-11 season, which seems like a growing possibility.

Alumni rosters announced for Bruins-Habs at Gillette Stadium

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The Winter Classic Alumni Game is back this year, scheduled for New Year’s Eve at Gillette Stadium between former members of the Montreal Canadiens and Boston Bruins.

Today, the NHL announced the rosters and coaching staffs.

Famous ex-Habs that will take to the outdoor ice include Larry Robinson, Guy Carbonneau, and Mats Naslund. Behind the bench will be Yvan Cournoyer, Jacques Demers and Guy Lafleur, among others.

The home side will counter with Bruins legends Ray Bourque, Cam Neely, and “Nifty” Rick Middleton, while Don Cherry, Mike Milbury, and Derek Sanderson will be among the coaches. (Quite a trio of personalities right there.)

Here are the full rosters:


NBCSN will broadcast the alumni game nationally in the United States, while Sportsnet and TVA Sports will have it in Canada.

The 2016 Winter Classic will be played the next day (on NBC).

Goalie nods: Andersen’s ‘flu-like symptoms’ mean Khudobin starts versus Flames

Anton Khudobin, Frederik Andersen
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With Frederik Andersen experiencing “flu-like symptoms” (PHT diagnosis: it might be the flu), the Anaheim Ducks will turn to backup Anton Khudobin for tonight’s home game versus Calgary.

Khudobin could, in turn, be backed up by Josh Gibson, recalled today from AHL San Diego. The Ducks have officially listed Andersen as “questionable.”

Khudobin (3-3-0, .917) has not started a game in over a week. His last action came exactly a week ago, after Andersen got the hook versus Nashville.

Andersen may or may not travel with the Ducks for tomorrow’s game at Arizona.

The Ducks, of course, are coming off a 5-0 loss to Tampa Bay, a result that produced the following quote from Ryan Kesler:

After a four-game winning streak to start November, Anaheim has since dropped five of its last seven.

Karri Ramo will be in net for the Flames. After a terrible start to the season, he’s been much better lately, allowing just eight goals combined in his last four starts.


Craig Anderson for the Senators. Antti Niemi for the Stars.

Torts: Jackets still need more ‘bite’

John Tortorella

The hope was that the Columbus Blue Jackets would be jolted into a great, long winning streak, and their season would be saved.

The reality of John Tortorella’s first month behind the bench has been, well, reality. The Jackets are 8-7-0 since Todd Richards was fired. Better than 0-7-0, sure, but at 8-14-0 overall, they remain last in the Eastern Conference.

Fifteen games into his tenure, Tortorella is still trying to get his message across.

“A big reason why we bring them in (to practice yesterday and today) is because we don’t have a full understanding of the standard we need to be at in all areas of the game,” he told The Columbus Dispatch. “Some things you can’t control in our game, but it’s how hard you play, how hard you are with your bite as a team, and the pace you play with – you can control that.”

The Jackets play Wednesday in New Jersey, where they’ll look to shake off Sunday’s disappointing home loss to San Jose. Columbus held a 3-1 third-period lead in that one. The Sharks scored four straight to win 5-3.


— The Canucks need ‘more bite’

The Rangers are better when they have ‘more bite’

Sharks sign Zubrus, because DeBoer


The San Jose Sharks have signed forward Dainius Zubrus to a one-year, two way contract, the club announced today.

Zubrus was given a tryout with the Sharks last week.

The 37-year-old played 74 games with the Devils last season, scoring just four goals with six assists. His contract was then bought out.

According to a Mercury News source, the decision to sign Zubrus lay “mainly” with his former coach in New Jersey, now San Jose’s bench boss, Pete DeBoer.

“He looks good,” DeBoer said of Zubrus last week, per CSN Bay Area. “He looks close. It’s tough to find six-foot-four, 215-pound guys who can play. … He’s an easy guy to play because he’s defensively reliable. He plays a big possession, heavy game. There’s a lot to like there.”

In a related move, the Sharks have reassigned forward Nikolay Goldobin to the AHL.

Related: Where’s the depth in San Jose?