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Off the Ice: Time for fans to repay Phoenix Coyotes owners is now

The Phoenix Coyotes ownership saga is over.

After more than four years, the team has a home in Glendale. It has an owner. There are no more questions of relocation or dissolving the franchise.

The folks over at Renaissance Sports and Entertainment — along with a small part played by the city of Glendale — are to thank for the stability. If they hadn’t gone through the bidding process and pushed the city, the NHL would likely be welcoming the Seattle Sasquatch next season (yes, that was an actual rumored name).

The deal brings a great sense of relief to Coyotes’ fans, who, over the past years, have attended meetings, read blog posts bashing their city and attended games, all while knowing the franchise could be gone in an instant. These fans deserve a team and they got one.

But now it’s time to pay the piper.

Those same fans who have remained steadfast the past five seasons owe it to the owners to do everything they can to make the team a success in the Valley. I have no doubt that they already have their season tickets in hand and will be at Arena for nearly every home game. I have no doubt they already have jerseys, shirts, hats and other souvenirs. I have no doubt they’ll suck it up and pay the new parking fees.

But the hardcore fans need to reach out to the middle-of-the-road fans. The fans who maybe go to a couple of games per year, and only when getting free tickets from work. The fans who may shy from slightly higher ticket prices, a parking fee and the drive to Glendale.

RSE has faith the city will embrace hockey as it once did in the late 90s, when the Coyotes were performing and America West Arena was packed for every game. The love of hockey (especially winning hockey) has been demonstrated by this city. Some may view the deal as the final chapter of a preposterously drawn-out saga — and they would be right — but its also the biggest victory the team has had in the last decade. It’s time to celebrate that win.

Money talks, Coyote fans. These new owners invested in the team, but when it comes down to it, it’s about the bottom line. It’s up to all of you to show them their efforts aren’t in vain.

I believe in all of you, just like RSE believes in this city.

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