The former mayor of Glendale is mad as hell at the NHL and the Arizona Coyotes, and she wrote a letter to Arizona lawmakers to say why.
“Strong emotions rushed through me as I read the recent haughty comments from NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and Coyotes Owner Andrew Barroway regarding their personally motivated announcement of the absolute impossibility of hockey succeeding in Glendale,” wrote Elaine Scruggs in a letter addressed to State Senator Steve Yarbrough and Speaker of the House J.D. Mesnard.
“As the former Mayor of Glendale who had a front row seat for many of the City’s dealings with the NHL and the Coyotes, I cannot sit silently as they mislead the Arizona Legislature and unabashedly insult the community I love.”
Scruggs’ letter is a response to Bettman’s recent letter to state lawmakers pleading support for a bill that would help the Coyotes fund the construction of a new arena in Greater Phoenix.
“The simple truth?” Bettman wrote. “The Arizona Coyotes must have a new arena location to succeed. The Coyotes cannot and will not remain in Glendale.”
To which Scruggs asserts: a “great deal of fast-talking and fuzzy math” have come from Bettman, Barroway, and Coyotes president and CEO Anthony LeBlanc.
“Disregard the fact that the team ranks last in the NHL in hockey spending, continually trades away top talent while it annually ‘builds for the future,’ and spends next to nothing to market the team. I will say what they will not: the Coyotes position at the bottom of the standings is a leadership problem, not a location problem,” Scruggs writes.
“The facts are easy to verify. Before the Coyotes moved out of downtown Phoenix they ranked 29th in attendance out of the league of 30 teams. Their first year in the Glendale Arena they ranked 19th in attendance. Attendance stayed in that tier until the floundering team started losing their disappointed fans’ support.
“Now the NHL and the Coyotes’ ownership group have hitched their wagons to a new scheme: Senate Bill 1149. After receiving hundreds of millions of dollars from Glendale, the NHL and Coyotes ownership are asking a much larger group of Arizona taxpayers for $225 million in public funding for another new arena. It’s the only way to make hockey work in Arizona, they tell us (again). This is the only solution, they say; this is what will make hockey thrive.
“They say a lot of things.”
It is a blistering letter, and you can read the whole thing here.