Thursday, September 24, 2009

I'm A Little Pissed...

There are a couple of things I want to address here when it comes to being a Phoenix Coyotes fan and about the organization.
First of all, stop bashing Coyotes fans. This whole financial mess has led to other hockey fans jumping on the back of the media in attacking the Coyotes and their fans. Whether it is saying that there are not enough fans in Phoenix or that Phoenix fans just are not as good as fans in other markets, it needs to stop. Everyone hockey fan is a hockey fan. Sure we may hate the teams they root for but you do not insult a fan's dedication to their team. I may hate teams but I do not hate fans who know their hockey and root for their team with pride. We are all hockey fans loving the same sport.
Secondly, the Coyotes can work in Phoenix. By letting Gretzky and his $8 million salary go, 1/5th of the $30 million lost by the Phoenix Coyotes is gone. Right off the bat. If the Coyotes can get a competent owner who will keep the team in Phoenix long term and makes good business decisions the organization can thrive. Yes the team needs to win but having a smart brain-trust in charge of the organization makes a huge difference. The marketing department won awards last year for Pierre the Snowman which is a good start. Now get someone in charge who will help make the organization a success off the ice. I have worked in sports organizations and no matter how good your team may be in the standings, if the internal workings are not going well it can affect every facet of the team including on the ice, field, court, or whatever you play on.
It takes time to build a fan base. This is not a traditional hockey market but that does not mean it cannot be successful. It takes time and effort to get a fan base built up. You start with drawing kids into the game and then as they grow up they pass the fandom (spell check accepts that word?) to their children. It is a process that is slow and can be painful at times but the signs are already showing. Arizona youth hockey programs are all over the Phoenix area and kids are playing hockey. David Spina, who is looking to make the Coyotes roster, is looking to be the first Arizona trained player to ever play in the NHL. Colten St. Clair, born and raised in Arizona, is a highly touted player and will be playing Division 1 hockey at Colorado College starting next season. The PF Chang's (Yes the Chinese restaurant) youth hockey organization is one of the best youth teams in the entire United States.
And where did all of this come from? Where did the funding, training, equipment, and even the ice rinks come from? The Phoenix Coyotes. Their involvement in the community over the years has laid down a very good foundation for hockey in the desert for the long term. Like rebuilding a franchise it takes time and alot of growing pains but it will work.
This was a bit more informal than the other posts but I felt like I needed to write this way to get my point across. A personal rule of mine that I have is to never wish a sports fan to lose their team because it will come back to haunt you some how. How would you feel if people were badgering you about how you should lose your team? Exactly, you would not like it. So stop doing it.

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