Coyotes president touts off-ice turnaround


The Phoenix Coyotes are dead last in NHL attendance. On Saturday, an announced crowd of just 11,697 showed up to Arena to watch the home team lose, 3-1, to Carolina.

But despite what may seem like a still-dire situation in the desert, Coyotes president and CEO Anthony LeBlanc is seeing signs of progress.

“Our next home game on December 27 against San Jose is going to be a sellout,” LeBlanc said yesterday on Arizona Sports 620 radio (audio). “So, the fact that we’re finally starting to sell out against some of these rivals in California — that’s a good sign. ”

He added: “From a paid attendance perspective, we’re up somewhere in the neighborhood of 15 percent year over year; sponsorships we can’t even compare to the previous years — things are going so well for us.”

According to LeBlanc — who admits things could still be better and wouldn’t use the word “happy” to describe how he’s feeling about the business — making the playoffs will be “incredibly important” for the Coyotes in terms of helping the new ownership group in their turnaround plans.

Unfortunately, a postseason berth is far from guaranteed at this point.

Bottom 10 in NHL attendance:


Note: Winnipeg’s capacity is 15,004.