If it were up to him, Gary Bettman would stroll out on the ice to a chorus of boo’s after the Phoenix Coyotes win the Stanley Cup and proclaim with a sarcastic smirk, ” Who said that NHL hockey wouldn’t work in Phoenix?”
What’s wrong with that statement is that just because the team enjoys success, it doesn’t necessarily mean that hockey works for that city. What it means is that a strong management team put together a team that works, from the coaching staff to the players. Huge credit should go to Don Maloney, Dave Tippett, the Coyotes players and the countless others behind the scenes that made the Coyotes a contender this year.
I have nothing against the Phoenix Coyotes. They are a great team enjoying some well deserved success.. They have been a fun team to watch play this year. The people who attend the games are as enthusiastic as any and have stuck with the club through all the drama.
Over the past 3 seasons, there have been over 5000 empty seats on average at every Coyotes home game. And even though Bettman seems to have found a buyer and the team has 1 in 4 shot at the Cup, will those numbers change?
And if the Coyotes should bring the Cup home this year, and attendance does rise, will it sustain over the seasons when the team is not doing so well? Or not winning championships? That is the true challenge.
But Gary Bettman’s massive ego will not accept defeat. Despite the soap opera type storylines around this franchise, he will gloat that only he could be so brilliant and have the supreme insight to create a championship franchise in the middle of the desert.
I really hope hockey makes it in Phoenix, but would hate to see another group come in and lose massive amounts of money, dump the the team, and in a couple years they are back to square one. All for the sake of Bettman trying to pat himself on the back.
The players, coaches and especially the fans deserve better than to be put through any more turmoil.