The Arizona Coyotes opened up preseason play on Saturday with a 5-4 loss the St. Louis Blues at INTRUST Bank Arena in Wichita, Kansas.
It embarked a stretch of 13-straight games for the Coyotes away from their new home rink at Mullet Arena on the campus of Arizona State University.
“If you look at the big picture, that will be challenging,” head coach Andre Tourigny said at media day on Wednesday.
“It’s a huge number. If you look at that, how can that help you today? It doesn’t help you today. The only thing you can control is today.”
Arizona gets a taste of the new home ice on Oct. 28 to begin a four-game homestand. After that, they hit the road again for 14-straight games from November 5th to December 7th.
“Going on the road is fun, obviously its going to be a long time,” forward Lawson Crouse said. “Whether you’re going out to dinner before or getting to know some of the newer guys, it’s really a chance to bond as a group.”
He also noted the potential difficulty of it.
“Definitely going to be a hard stretch but I think we’re all ready for it,” he said.
It could be good news for the Coyotes, who won more games on the road last season than at home. Despite finishing with the second worst point total in the NHL, Arizona finished with 14 road wins last season which was either tied or ahead of eight other teams in the league. They only won 11 home games.
The rigorous schedule to start the season should give way to a highly anticipated home ice experience later in the year.
There are many fans around the league and in the Valley, especially, who are looking forward to the team playing in an exclusive 5,000-seat setting where every spectator will have a good view of the action.
“Our club seat will be the closest to the ice of any other club sections in the NHL. We actually have concerns that they’ll be too much potential liability of pucks flying into the clubs,” president and CEO Xavier Gutierrez said.
While the team continues to pursue the development of a permanent entertainment district in Tempe for its new long-term home, ASU’s new Mullet Arena will provide a one-of-a-kind experience for NHL fans in a deal that has additional options through the 2025-26 season.
“We’re excited to be a team that other teams don’t want to play, that will come into Mullet Arena to a loud, energetic, electrifying environment,” Gutierrez said.
For 19 seasons, the Coyotes played their home games at Gila River Arena in Glendale until the city voted to end a 15-year lease agreement that was signed in 2015.