The Arizona Coyotes, they of the best logo and near-worst record in hockey, alongside NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, have unequivocally denied a recent Forbes report that the team is for sale, which may result in a move to Houston. As mentioned by ESPN (yeah, I know):
“This is false. Totally false,” the statement read. “We’re not selling. We’re not moving. The Coyotes are 100 percent committed to playing in Arizona.”
The Forbes article reads more like the writer’s wishful thinking than anything based on fact. Yes, Houston is the largest NHL-deprived market in the US. It also doesn’t have a professional football franchise, as anyone who has seen the Texans this year can attest. And yes, Houston Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta would love to make locals forget the James Harden-to-Brooklyn trade by bringing in a shiny new and way-cooler than basketball diversion. But let’s get real. The Coyotes are not moving to Houston, nor shall they ever move to Houston.
First, we look to Seattle for something other than coffee and Antifa. The Kraken — and as of late, have I mentioned it should be your new favorite sports team? — dropped a tidy $650M in the NHL’s bank account when it joined the league. A relocation fee would be at best half that, if that much (12 years ago, the suggested amount was $100M). Does anyone genuinely think the NHL would cut Fertitta a deal?
Next, add into the mix a city as far removed from both Seattle and Glendale, where the Coyotes currently suffer … er, reside, as imaginable. Namely, Quebec City, currently the home of the Quebec provincial government, a few crazed separatists, and the former home of the Nordiques (now Colorado Avalanche). The local politicos, who have a far better grip on why sports matter to their community than their American counterparts, are doing all the right things to bring the Nordiques back into existence. The NHL cramming its and the teams’ coffers full with two expansion team fees simultaneously entering the league by adding Houston and Quebec? Why, yes, Bettman and company would prefer said action plan. Go figure.
As to the Coyotes themselves, a couple of advice pieces. One, take everything in the warehouse with that awful, eyeless howling coyote head logo and burn it. Immediately. The Kachina is king. Full stop.
Next, in what may well be a first, tell the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport people currently raising “concerns” over your proposed new arena in Mesa, due to its proximity to the airport, to look to California for examples of how their worries should be even more minuscule than a Pittsburgh chapter of the Gritty Fan Club. In San Jose, PayPal Park, where the MLS Earthquakes play, is literally next door to Mineta San José International Airport, while down SoCal way, SoFi Stadium where the Rams romp, is directly on the flight path into LAX with no problems.
Even Wile E. couldn’t mess this up.
Finally, without throwing your rebuilding through the draft and internal player development plan out the window, you might want to scout around for some veteran players to make the team more competitive until the kids hit their stride. Regardless of where a team plays, nothing puts fans in the seats like winning.
Of course, some readers might catch the reference in my headline: Stacey Abrams is a legend in her own mind, who only thinks she’s Governor of Georgia — until she doesn’t.
Oh, and listen to the judge.