No one knows for sure how much stable ownership will impact the Phoenix Coyotes on the ice.
However, off it, the difference is already noticeable, as the team’s media day Wednesday offered a glimpse into the transformation.
“There’s a vibe, there definitely is an excitement,” new Coyotes President and CEO Anthony LeBlanc told Arizona Sports 620’s Bickley with Marotta Thursday when discussing what he’s seen from the likes of head coach Dave Tippett and general manager Don Maloney, as well as the players. “What I love is the fact that you have the face of the Coyotes, the veteran, the captain, Shane Doan, sitting front-row center with the biggest smile on his face [Wednesday] morning.”
LeBlanc’s group, IceArizona Acquisition Co. LLC, took over the franchise after it had spent the last four seasons under the NHL’s control. The shoe-string budget did not prevent the team from remaining competitive, but it likely held them back at times.
So for everyone involved, having people in charge who not only can spend money, but want to as well, is an exciting change of pace.
And with them has come no fear of a change in location, which is a welcome change from the past few years, for everyone inside the organization and the fans who cheer for the team.
“We are all in, that’s the only way to describe it,” LeBlanc said. “We have put a lot of capitol into this deal. We’re all in the process either of moving down here or have moved down here.
“We’re not going to be absentee owners.”
LeBlanc said he feels the Valley is taking notice of how involved the new owners have been from the moment they took over, as there has been an increase in season tickets, suites and sponsorship sales. It’s a far cry from how things used to be.
“The reality is, this is the first time in, really, probably a decade, that there’s been an ownership group thay this is all we’re focused on, and I think that’s starting to resonate,” he added.