All you can ask for is a chance, and now the Phoenix Coyotes have one.
Excuse me, the Arizona Coyotes.
By way of a 4-3 vote, the Glendale City Council paved the way for Renaissance Sports & Entertainment to purchase the team, meaning the franchise is on the cusp of something it has not seen in nearly half a decade: stability.
And, with the Coyotes also on the cusp of being one of the NHL’s better teams, this could very well be the game-changer the Valley sports scene so badly needs.
Of course, soon the excitement over the Desert Dogs staying will wear off and it will be time to get down to the business of building a winner, and the belief here is with just a little bit of financial support, general manager Don Maloney will be able to lift a franchise that reached the Western Conference Finals just one year ago to even greater heights.
Just think, if all things are equal (or close to) financially, what hockey player wouldn’t want to call the Valley home?
Great weather during the season, a beautiful arena to play in, one of the league’s best coaches and a fan base that would like to win but is not terribly demanding?
Seems like an easy sell to me.
For many of the same reasons the Phoenix Suns were always a prime free agent destination, the Coyotes should be too. However, the ownership saga tied the team’s hands and understandably deterred players from committing to play in Arizona. And while Tuesday’s vote does not guarantee the team will play in the Valley for the next 20 years, it does promise at least five, which should be enough for pretty much anyone the team would like to pursue.
Shane Doan re-upped last summer, and his faith was rewarded. Maloney and head coach Dave Tippett did the same this year, and goalie Mike Smith is the latest key member of the franchise to sign on the dotted line.
Momentum, thy name is Coyotes, and now it’s up to the team’s new owners — the team FINALLY has owners — to step up to the plate and capitalize.
Do so, and this market may just surprise the doubters and embrace hockey in a way it has not since, well ever. I believe it can happen. I believe it will happen.
The seeds for hockey in the desert were planted a long time ago, but for the longest time nobody came around to water them. Tuesday’s vote was the torrential downpour that was so badly needed, and now the sport has a legitimate hope of growing, of flourishing.