All right, Phoenix Coyotes, you’ve got me
You had me at hello.
Anthony LeBlanc and George Gosbee, who have been speaking for the IceArizona Acquisition Co. group, are saying all the right things, and I’m buying every word.
Hook, line and sinker, I’m in.
This is the group that will not only stabilize the franchise, but propel it to heights it has never seen. Did the Western Conference Finals run a couple years ago get you pumped? Even better times are on the way.
“Our investor group are a group of very successful business excecutives, and not one of us embarks on any business journey with an expectation of failing,” LeBlanc told Arizona Sports 620’s Doug and Wolf Tuesday. “We’re going to wear this. It’s been a lot of work getting to this point, and we didn’t do it to come in and not see this through.
“We feel like many other non-traditional hockey markets…we feel that Phoenix is going to be a thriving hockey market.”
Truth is, it’s perfectly understandable for even the most excited Coyotes fan to be a bit hesitant about the intentions of a group made up of Canadians with regards to keeping the franchise in Arizona and not move it to, I don’t know, Canada.
I mean, if Seattle can lose the SuperSonics…
The five-year out clause in the group’s deal with Glendale opens up the possibility for them to move should the market reject the franchise, and until Jobing.com Arena is filled on a nightly basis that fear is legitimate.
If it comes to that, the group will have every reason to leave and probably should. But I don’t believe they want that to happen.
“We’re not going anywhere,” Gosbee told Bickley with Marotta Monday. “We came into this with the sole objective of building a winning organization here in the state of Arizona, and we’re not going to deviate off that.
“If it takes us a couple years or it takes us 10 years, we’re going to do it.”
For the longest time, I’ve been of the belief that the Coyotes were an owner away from being a very solid franchise. When they arrived in the Valley in time for the 1996 season, both the team and attendance were good.
Jeremy Roenick, Keith Tkachuk and Nikolai Khabibulin were household names that we couldn’t spell, but sports fans followed the team and cared about how they did.
Their repeated postseason failures hit hard, sure, but they resonated.
Hockey was working in the desert.
“I know with a skeleton crew and the league running it, what level it performed at,” NHL commissioner Gary Bettman told Bickley with Marotta Tuesday. “And year after year, ticket sales increased, season ticket sales increased, the team was competitive.
“With ownership and people being able to, without reservation, commit emotionally to the franchise because they know it’s going to be here, we think the best is yet to come and it’s going to come very quickly.”
Now, there’s a man after my own heart.
The Coyotes did quite a bit with an excellent general manager, a great coach and some good players, but were held back by a lack of ownership.
That is no longer a problem, and they have the right people in place to make the Coyotes a winner and, perhaps as captain Shane Doan thinks, the Valley’s ‘it’ team.
There are no guarantees in sports, but the stars have aligned for the Coyotes. And I don’t know about you, but I’m all in.