It’s time for Arizona to join the NHL winter outdoor game party. And hey, Commissioner Bettman, we kind of think you owe us one from losing the All-Star game to the lockout a few years back.
Yes, we respect you greatly for dealing with the headaches of the never-ending ownership saga and not sending the Coyotes to Seattle or Portland or Quebec or Winnipeg. And trust us, we know you had every opportunity to give up on hockey here but you didn’t, so thanks. But since you didn’t give up on the market why not try to give it a boost? And oh what a boost an outdoor game would be to the fan base of the soon-to-be Arizona Coyotes.
Getting an outdoor game in the desert would create tremendous interest in the local market, generate huge media exposure and increase the Coyotes’ season ticket base. And why not Arizona? I mean, if they are playing a Super Bowl in cold weather they can play a hockey game in warm weather. And besides, they just had an outdoor game in Los Angeles between the Ducks and Kings at Dodgers Stadium with a game-time temperature of 62 degrees. We can do 62 degrees here no problem, maybe even cooler. Look, I will even call Mrs. Claus and see if she can arrange for Heat Miser to let it snow here for one day.
The outdoor game is a huge success for the NHL. The other outdoor games this season were the Rangers and Devils at Yankee Stadium, the Maple Leafs and Red Wings from the Big House, while upcoming games include the four-time Stanley Cup Champion New York Islanders vs. the Rangers Wednesday from Yankee Stadium, the Penguins vs. the Blackhawks from Soldier Field on March 1 and the Senators vs. the Canucks from BC Place on March 2.
Just when Arizona would host an outdoor game and where it would be played is yet to be determined. Next year would be great considering the Super Bowl will be hosted by Arizona, so if they timed it right maybe, just maybe they could piggy back off the NFL’s marquee game. If not next year then the year after works, but sometime in the next two seasons it will hopefully happen. The venue options would be the obvious — Sun Devil Stadium, Chase Field or University of Phoenix Stadium. I think any and all of those would work, but my best guess would be Chase Field. I would imagine the opponent would be a big name like the Penguins, Rangers, Bruins, Red Wings or Blackhawks. Not a bad idea to have a big draw attached to the game.
New ownership recently met with league officials at the outdoor game in Los Angeles to discuss a number of things, and the organization is pushing hard to try and get a game here. Commissioner Bettman should have a few reasons to make sure hockey works here in the desert. An outdoor game would do wonders for the Coyotes’ long-term success.