It’s been one hell of a ride for the Phoenix Coyotes in the past
year. This time last summer there was a campaign by Jim Balsillie to
purchase the franchise and move it to Hamilton, as debate raged over the
merits of a hockey team in Arizona versus in Canada.
The case eventually went to court and the NHL purchased the team out
of bankruptcy. A year later, it doesn’t seem as if we’re any closer to a
new owner although we at least have an agreement in place that will
keep the Coyotes in Phoenix for one more year.
Today, team president David Moss and general manager Don Maloney
spoke to the press today, excited to see ticket sales, suites and season
ticket packages selling at a much, much greater rate than last season. From
Rebekah L. Sanders of the Arizona Republic:
Coyotes are relative again,” Moss said. “This marketplace responded to
the playoffs. All we had to do was show we can be competitive.”
the team’s success on the ice is critical, Maloney said.
the only way we can survive,” he said. “There’s work to do to get people
to come back. . . . I’m encouraged, though, if we get a good start, we
can bring more people here.”
Right now the sale of
the team is resting on negotiations between Ice Edge Holdings, the City
of Glendale and the NHL but that’s not keeping Maloney from focusing on
the season ahead. Fresh off of winning the NHL’s GM of the Year award,
Maloney has the tough task of not only keeping these fans they’ve gained
in the past year but also making new ones.
It’s amazing what a
winning season and a playoff berth will do for a fanbase. Call them
fairweather all you want, but there’s no doubt that being proactive in
the community and successful on the ice are the only ways hockey will be
successful in a town like Phoenix. Or Glendale.