Give the Phoenix Coyotes ticketing and marketing departments credit — they’re not lacking creativity.
Available for rent on the Coyotes website is the Allergy Friendly Suite, “a private suite for families who want to enjoy NHL hockey and world class events in a setting that is shared by people with like symptoms.” Yes, that’s right — the whole thing is allergy-free. The suite is meticulously cleaned prior to each use and, because the peanut allergen is documented to have the highest risk reaction, is entirely peanut-free.
In addition to the cleanliness and peanut ban, the suite features the “Allergy Friendly Menu” that is free of the top eight allergens. Among the items for purchase are the All Beef Hebrew National Hot Dogs (Gluten-free with sauerkraut, onion, mustard, ketchup and relish) and the Market Fresh Vegetable Crudités (with carrots, cauliflower, broccolini, tomatoes, buttermilk, ranch dressing, soybean oil, canola oil, monosodium, glutamate, Kosher salt and black pepper.) Crudité is the French word for “uncooked vegetables,” by the way. Glutamate is a non-essential amino acid. Cauliflower is hard on the ol’ digestive system.
It should be noted that people may bring food in from other Jobing.com Arena concessions stands, so long as the food does not contain — you guessed it — peanuts. (Right now I have the image of an irate Mr. Peanut filing a discrimination suit against the Coyotes.)
According to Arizona’s ABC15.com the suite is private, seats 12, and can hold up to 18.
“We are one of the few arenas in the country that are offering this exclusive opportunity,” Jim Foss, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Jobing.com Arena told ABC 15. “We are excited to provide families with a safe and allergy friendly environment to enjoy Coyotes hockey and world class concerts.”
In the NHL we’ve heard our fair share of stories about players having nagging injury problems that can slow down their progress or waylay their careers in ways that make life hard for them. Think of the players through the years that would have chronic knee problems or issues with their shoulders or groins. Hockey’s a hard game and living the life can be rough.
Picture then what it must be like for Capitals defenseman Tom Poti. The 33 year-old native of Worcester, Mass. has had his share of injury troubles in his career but nothing has been as personally troubling for him as his battles with severe allergies have been. If you think having a trick knee makes life difficult, imagine what it’s like having to clear out of the room if someone’s eating peanut butter. Poti’s career has been made trickier with such issues but he soldiers on regardless. Joseph White of the Associated Press tells the story.
No nuts. No chocolate. No fish. Nothing from the ocean. No MSG. Most spices and sauces are verboten. Everything he eats has to be cooked in separate, clean utensils. It’s been this way since he began eating solid food as a toddler, when he would break out in hives, rashes and have other problems at nearly every feeding.
“They finally ended up taking me to an allergist. I almost died from the testing it was so bad,” Poti said. “Nowadays they test for just one thing at a time, back then they’d test for everything (at once). I had to get filled up with adrenaline, things like that.
“They finally figured out what I could have and I couldn’t have, and I’ve just been doing that ever since.”
You think of all the things hockey players have to deal with on the ice and how when they’re off of it it has to feel like a refuge from the manic insanity of everything that goes on in a hockey game. Poti doesn’t quite have that same luxury though in having to keep himself safe from just about everything imaginable.
It’s pretty incredible to see how he deals with everything when living life on the road and the perils both obvious and hidden that could cause him to go into anaphylactic shock. For now, Poti is happy being able to rejoin the Capitals on the ice knowing full well that he’s got it all under control off of it.