Coyotes get golden opportunity to show Phoenix is a hockey town


The time is now for Phoenix sports fans to show they can support the Coyotes, writes columnist Dan Bickley of The Arizona Republic.

Because if not now, it might be never.

Monday in Chicago, the Coyotes advanced to the second round of the playoffs for the first time since relocating from Winnipeg to the desert in 1996.

Add to the fact the NBA’s Suns failed to qualify for the playoffs for the third time in four seasons, and according to Bickley, a “huge window of opportunity and exposure” has opened for the NHL franchise that’s still desperately in need of a new owner to keep it from relocating.

If I’m a potential owner, I’m watching the turnstiles closely, especially those pricey lower-bowl seats. Hopefully, the results are a revelation, proof that fans are willing to embrace a new era of hockey.

“This is certainly a step forward,” Coyotes General Manager Don Maloney said. “It’s exciting … and it’s really a reflection of the ineptitude of the franchise, if you think about it. For 33 years, this is only the third time that we advanced? You almost shake your head about it. But fortunately, we’re where we need to be.”

As reported today by the Phoenix Business Journal, there are still tickets available for Games 1 and 2.

A scan of available seats on Ticketmaster shows more than 800 seats are available for Game 1 Friday in Glendale. More than 900 seats are available for Game 2 on Sunday.

Almost all those seats are in the lower bowl at Arena. Upper level tickets, which range from $54 and $88 per seat, are nearly sold out.

The available seats are in the lower bowl and exclusive club sections at the arena where tickets are more expensive. The Coyotes are charging from $115 to $527 per ticket for lower level and club seats.

The Coyotes sold out all three of their home playoff games against the Blackhawks; however, as Bickley notes, the Nashville Predators “do not have thousands of transplanted fans living the Valley, ready to push ticket sales and infiltrate Arena.”