Coyotes Face Summer Of Suspense

The story of the Phoenix Coyotes' troubles is not a new one. However it seems that it gets a new sequel every off-season. This time it could just be the final chapter: 'Happily Ever After' or 'The End'. The NHL has stated that time is running out, indicating they do not intend to own and operate this club much longer.

The Phoenix Coyotes are a product of the relocated Winnipeg Jets which was moved to the desert in the summer of 1996. They began playing in the America West Arena which was hardly a good setup for hockey, but it worked until they could get a new arena in 2003. While their performance in the early years was good, it was hard to sell hockey in the dessert and the attendance often suffered. In 2009, the team failed in several attempts to sell the team and found themselves in bankruptcy. Since then the NHL has been in control of the troubled team.

Poor view from seats on one end of the arena. - Photo courtesy of SeatData.com


Fast forward to the present, Gary Bettman has stated that the time for Glendale to decide on the teams future is now. While he will not give a deadline for a decision, he has made it clear that something will have to happen soon or the league will exercise other options. Those options are also not clearly stated and Bettman doesn't want to spark discussions of other options until they have exhausted all efforts to keep the Coyotes in Glendale.

“There are a myriad of options,” Bettman said in Chicago before the start of the Stanley Cup Final “Obviously we’ll have lots of choices, options and decisions. And at the time, if we get to that point, and hopefully we won’t, then we’ll focus on which one is the best.”

However, he knows as well as anyone that the discussions are already well underway among the media and NHL experts. We can assume that relocation is the most probable option for the NHL should Glendale fail to secure an arena lease and owner for the team. However, the Phoenix Business Blog suggests that there is a couple other options in the running. The Coyotes could become inactive for a season or even disband completely.

My gut tells me that relocation is imminent. I feel like a quick solution is unlikely now after years of failed talks. Most likely a move to Canada as there are several cities that are anxious to get a team. However Seattle is working on plans for a new NHL/NBA arena, so I am sure they would be happy to welcome the team.

At any rate, we still may not know much for a month or two and that could also hold up on the release of next season's schedule.

As always, I am interested in your thoughts on the the future of the Coyotes. Please feel free to comment below.
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