I think my hockey fandom has reached an all-time high (or low, depending on how you look at it.) For almost 2 hours, I watched a live stream of the Glendale City Council meeting and vote, about whether to approve a 15-year lease agreement to keep the Phoenix Coyotes at Jobing.com Arena in Phoenix. (A brief aside: that’s the 2nd worst stupidest arena name in sports. The worst? The football stadium that sits right beside it, University of Phoenix Stadium.) But as I wrote yesterday, at least it’s something hockey-related to pass the time. I even called my Aunt Carolyn, who lives in Glendale, to tell her the eyes of the hockey world were fixed upon her town. She said she got sick of hearing about this story before the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico…that long ago.
The Council voted 4-3 in favour of the deal that will finally give the Coyotes a stable owner, willing to keep the franchise in Phoenix. Unfortunately, that “stability” is only good for the next 5 years, because Royal Sports & Entertainment (RSE), the group that will buy the team, insisted on an out-clause in the agreement. If the team loses $50 million, or after 5 years pass, RSE can break the lease and move the team. Why, exactly, will Coyotes fans want to buy a new Mike Smith jersey if it could be obsolete in 5 years? Why will they plunk down thousands of dollars on season tickets for a team that could break their hearts as soon as 2018? Those questions assume that there are Coyotes fans to begin with. To me, they seem as imaginary as the Lochness Monster.
We could go back on forth on the pros and cons of the deal, and of having an ICE hockey team in THE DESERT. But we’ve been doing so since 2009. The biggest question from tonight is this: how on earth did those city council members get elected? If you caught any of the proceedings, the incompetence probably seeped through your computer screen. If you didn’t, it’s enough to know that one of the members based part of his vote on 6 emails he received…5 in favour of keeping the team, and 1 against. So in a city with a population of more than 4 million, those emails helped sway the decision. Another council member compared the RSE representative to firefighters, noting the dedication and passion he demonstrated. In the wake of this, probably not a good idea. If tonight’s circle jerk is representative—in any way—of how local government works in this country, we’re in trouble.
The ARIZONA Coyotes (the name change appears imminent) have their window to succeed in Glendale: 5 years. If they don’t, they’ll head to Seattle or Quebec City, both of which will have shiny, new arenas. You can probably tell I don’t think they have a snowball’s chance in hell (see what I did there…snow melting in the heat…ice hockey in the desert) of filling that arena on a consistent basis. But now that this mess is finally over, I’m hopping on the Coyotes’ bandwagon. What a story it would be, if they could endure all this bullshit and win a Stanley Cup. Something along these lines.