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Former Coyotes owner says hockey won’t work in Arizona

Former Phoenix Coyotes owner Jerry Moyes is keeping an eye
on his former team’s efforts to stay in the Valley.

The Glendale City Council is looking to vote on a proposal
that would bring the franchise one step closer to being
bought by former San Jose Sharks owner Greg Jamison, which
sounds all well and good.

Until, of course, you realize the city itself would be
paying Jamison and his group to buy the team and run
Jobing.com Arena.

There may be a few problems with that, but as Moyes told
News-Talk 92.3 KTAR’s Karie and Chuck Friday, there is one
simple fact that should stop this from happening.

“I don’t think it’s going to work,” he said of hockey in
Arizona. “You just look at the economics, it just won’t
work. We have so many other sports activities to take not
only the advertising dollar, but the consumer dollar.”

Moyes owned the team from September 2006 to May 2009, so
he would have a pretty good idea of the viability of
hockey in the desert.

And the numbers tend to agree with his assertion, as the
Coyotes have
consistently ranked last in the National Hockey League in
attendance, failing to really draw much of a crowd or
attention. But the idea of seeing them move now, after the
team reached the Western Conference Final, is one that a
lot of people are not a fan of.

But that is what’s on the table right now should the
deal with Jamison not go through, as the Coyotes would
likely be out of options if the goal is to stay in
Arizona. At that point there’s a chance the next step
would be for the league to just find an owner, regardless
of whether or not he would want to relocate the team.
Incidentally, that’s where Moyes had the team heading
three years ago.

“At that point we had a very good buyer to relocate the
team, and if the city would have supported that and if the
team would have moved, they would have been given $50
million,” Moyes said, referring to an opportunity to sell
the franchise to Canadian billionaire Jim Balsillie, who
would have moved the team. “If they would have put that
$50 million in an annuity, that would have made the
payment for the facility for I think the rest of the 18
years.

“The City of Glendale would have come out with a facility
all paid for.”

Instead, the NHL took over the team and has been looking
for a buyer ever since, with the caveat that the next
owner would need to keep the Coyotes in Arizona.

It’s a task that has been incredibly arduous and
difficult, but could be nearing completion.