By: Justin Ferguson
With the 5-2 decision by the Glendale city council, the NHL and the Coyotes need to take the hint that the sun has set on the experiment of hockey in the desert. Despite a few solid years, the Coyotes have never found their footing in Arizona and it is time to move on.
From the beginning the team has continuously had problems drawing fans, putting a winning team on the ice, and has been in what seems like a constant struggle to find a way to stay in a location that few want them in. This whole experience gives the NHL a black eye and somebody needs to know when to cut their losses.
Yes, it is unfortunate for the fans who follow the team but these things happen and teams need to move on. It must not be forgotten that NHL teams are businesses and they must operate as such. The idea that a government is paying a NHL team $15 million a year to "manage" the arena seems like a substantial amount for taxpayers to be subsidizing. The people of Glendale must be thinking that $15 million can be spent in better ways.
Any government has a responsibility to the taxpayer to be managing their money wisely. The fact that the Glendale city council voted decisively 5-2 to cancel this agreement speaks volumes to the point that they no longer felt this was a wise investment of tax money. With that, it is time for the Coyotes and the NHL to say goodbye to the idea of hockey in Arizona (at least for now) and find a better solution.
There are cities and communities that appear to be begging for NHL hockey, the league would be smart to feverishly explore these opportunities, move the Coyotes and get this franchise back on solid footing. Quebec City for example have had lobbyists approaching the NHL for years to move a franchise back there, perhaps this is the right time or perhaps another team in Ontario (outside of Toronto) is the answer. What doesn't seem to be the answer is hockey in Arizona.
As for the city of Glendale, it is smart to be contemplating plans for the arena without the Coyotes, as the hockey experiment should be over.