Forget the Goldwater Institute, it's time to end Coyotes saga
Published: April 15, 2011 @ 10:43am
Last weekend Mrs. Espo and I were having a conversation. We were talking about how our future kids won't have any clue what a Blockbuster Video store, a pay phone, a CD or people who are famous because they have actual talent, are. If you choose to believe reports coming from numerous Canadian media outlets you can probably add NHL hockey and the Phoenix Coyotes to that list as well.
The way things are currently heading, my kids won't even know what it's like to live in a real major sports city. One that has all four major sports teams.
I grew up in Phoenix at a time when it was pretty much a one dog -- or should I say Sun -- sports town. The Phoenix Suns dominated and the Phoenix Cardinals were trotting out the likes of Tom Tupa -- yes the punter -- at quarterback. Along with them were the Phoenix Firebirds, the Triple-A affiliate of the San Francisco Giants and the Phoenix Roadrunners, the minor league affiliate of the Los Angeles Kings.
We were the definition of a small market town. The only thing missing was the tumble weed blowing down the empty streets of downtown. Wait, that wasn't even missing.
When the Firebirds and Roadrunners went away, it caused the Valley to be nostalgic. The thing was, the city knew it was like graduating from college. We were sad for what we were leaving but excited to enter the professional world.
Now we face the opposite situation. If the Coyotes were to leave we'd be the professional sports version of Christian Slater. We'd have tasted great success only to be relegated to begging for minor gigs.
Usually this is where I'd rip the Goldwater Institute and tell you how they don't understand much other than their own pursuit of notoriety. It's all still true but, to quote a famous conservative that the group may be able to relate to, "we don't negotiate with terrorists".
It may seem harsh, but the dictionary defines terrorism as "the use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, especially for political purposes." Minus the violence, they've pretty much terrorized the team, Matthew Hulsizer, the NHL and the city of Glendale for the last few months. Instead of meeting and discussing differences, they grandstanded at every opportunity they got agreeing only to speak with all parties involved if it were a contrived publicity stunt with media in attendance (see question No. 9 here for proof). It's time to stop giving them press, attempting to reason with them or even acknowledging them. It will get us nowhere.
From this point on in this column I will no longer negotiate or try to reason with those that are terrorizing the Valley's team.
As the Commish Dave Burns would say, we're at DEFCON 1 and it's time for a last ditch effort. It's time to appeal directly to Hulsizer himself. It's time we go all John Cusack from Say Anything, hold up the boombox blaring Peter Gabriel -- two more things my kids will have no idea about --, and beg him to be with us.
Mr. Hulsizer, if you really believe in this team, this city and the NHL, the fans need you to step up and save them from this nightmare they've lived through for the last three years. You need to agree to buy the team at whatever price the NHL is willing to sell it to you for. (I'm willing to bet he can get it for really cheap right now. Commissioner Gary Bettman's pride and legacy rides on the survival of Sun Belt hockey.)
Forget help from Glendale or taxpayer money. You can work a deal out with the city on cash incentives at a later date (We'll figure out a way to stick it to the Goldwater Institute eventually). The city, the team and its fans need you now more than ever. Canadians are lining up for their shot to take the team and you can be the savior of the franchise and the city. The owner this team has never had.
If you don't come through we'll have to watch our beloved team leave us for another city. Have you ever watched someone you once loved with their new love? It hurts like having to watch a David Spade film. You can save us from that (too bad you can't go back in time and prevent us from watching Joe Dirt).
Mr. Hulsizer, you have a chance to let my future kids and an entire new generation of Valley sports fans grow up knowing NHL hockey and the Coyotes. Please save the team before they go the way of the Blockbusters of the world.