If you look hard enough with the right amount of nerdy perspective, potential Phoenix Coyotes owner Greg Jamison bears a striking resemblance to Obi-Wan Kenobi.
Which is fitting, because Jamison may very well be the Arizona sports fan’s only hope.
We’re fortunate to have a team in each of the “big four” sports, but of those that call the Valley home, the Phoenix Coyotes are the closest to being great. And they will get there if Jamison is the real deal.
Up to this point the Coyotes have been a nice story and good team.
Owned by the NHL and operating with a very limited budget, the Coyotes have reached the postseason each of the last three seasons. In 2012 the squad nobody seemed to want became an excellent defensive unit with enough grit to win the Pacific Division, and the underdog mentality carried the team to the Western Conference Final.
From there they were unceremoniously dispatched by the eventual champion Los Angeles Kings in a five-game series that wasn’t even that close. But the Coyotes got there, which was an accomplishment in and of itself.
How it happened is anyone’s guess, but suffice to say shrewd acquisitions by Don Maloney combined with great coaching by the sorcerer known as Dave Tippett helped.
But if the Coyotes are to take the next step and go from a nice team to one that can legitimately compete for a Stanley Cup, they will do so because of Jamison.
Jamison represents an opportunity for stability, the likes of which the franchise has not seen over the last decade.
Should the former San Jose Sharks CEO finally purchase the team, as has been reported, the direction the Coyotes are heading will change for the better.
Punchline? No longer.
Contender? You better believe it.
One of the things that have made the Phoenix Suns such an attractive team to play for is the place in which they play. The Valley, especially during basketball season, is a wonderful place to live. The weather is great, the golfing is ample and the nightlife is solid.
And in case you were wondering, hockey’s season runs parallel with basketball’s, so the same factors apply.
If the lockout taught us anything (besides the fact that lockouts are dumb), it’s that hockey players want to be in Phoenix. All throughout the 113-day work stoppage were reports that some of the game’s best were training right here in the Valley.
Now, this is not to say Jamison will (or even should) turn the Coyotes into the Flyers or Rangers and just spend, spend and spend some more.
But a capable owner would allow the team to spend more than it has — or, really, spend at all — and you have to wonder if finances are no longer an obstacle, what’s left to stand in the Coyotes’ way?
Maloney has already shown he can build a division winner on the cheap; think about what he could do with a little more cash to spend.
Indeed, with the ownership saga finally settled it’s possible the Coyotes could rise to the top of the Arizona sports heap.
The Cardinals just wrapped up a 5-11 campaign — their second in the last three seasons — which led to the dismissal of their head coach and general manager.
The Diamondbacks are a few months away from taking the field, but when they return we’ll be left to wonder if they’re more the team that won the NL West in 2011 or the one that finished a mediocre 81-81 in 2012.
And the Suns, well, the Suns are on their way toward bottoming out (if they haven’t already) and the rebuilding process will likely take a couple of years.
But the Coyotes are a good team now that could be even better in the near future. Good enough to win a championship?
As we embark on the 2013 calendar year, we do so with very little optimism towards our professional teams, save for one.
A Jamison-led Phoenix Coyotes may very well be a new hope for us all.