Before we all freak out at the thought of one of the potential Coyotes ownership groups slowly relocating our team to Canada five games a year at a time, I’d like to encourage you all to take a step back and look at this idea of theirs from a different perspective.
If you want to read the rest, please continue reading after the jump. I personally do not agree with this plan. I don't think the best way to win back a scorned fan base is to hold games elsewhere. I understand the business implications of this but I do not see how it will help build a larger fan base. If you follow myself and theyotesdiva on twitter, you saw our debate on it this morning so I am not going to get into everything here. Please read the letter from savethecoyotes.com and let me know your thoughts.
I’ll be the first to admit that when the news broke of the IceEdge plans for our Coyotes, red flags went up. The crazy summer I’ve endured thus far has taught me nothing if not to look out for signs of a wolf in sheep’s clothing. As I know most of you did as well, I immediately assumed the worst. I thought this group of potential owners had no intention of helping us, all they want to do is slowly take our team away from us. I was ready to go to battle…
I had the opportunity to speak with Todd Jordan this week. Mr. Jordan is the Chief Financial Officer for IceEdge Holdings, LLC. He patiently and thoroughly answered my questions as I fired them away at him. My first impression of Mr. Jordan was a good one; he reached out the arm of contact to me. Why? Should IceEdge gain control of the Phoenix Coyotes, they want to form a “partnership” with the fans in Arizona. They fully realize that in order for this franchise to be successful long term, we will all have to work together. They also realize that sometimes the most valuable input comes from the fans. They themselves are fans. Mr. Jordan, the American of the group; grew up in Conneticut. Having to endure the loss of the Hartford Whalers, he is certainly no stranger to the pain of losing a team to relocation.
I’d like to share with you what IceEdge feels are the critical elements of their plan for the Coyotes:
- Keeping the team in Phoenix: As we all know, our team is in a bad financial position. We can stand around and point the finger of blame all day long but it won’t help the situation. We may have to do something drastic in order to turn the situation around and achieve the long term goal of keeping our team in Arizona. Thus makes the next element necessary to the IceEdge plan…
- Playing non-core games in Canada to drive excess revenue until the team’s financial position is in better shape: Due to recent media reports, my first concern was for the loss of playoff games and I expressed this to Mr. Jordan. I was relieved to hear that taking playoff games away from us was not part of their plan. I was also relieved to hear that this would not be a permanent arrangement. This is just an arrangement intended to drive up revenue to help the team get back on its feet. It certainly isn’t an ideal plan for the players, for the fans, for the city who will lose the revenue from those five games. However, as far as options go for making this team financially better off now, this might not be such a terrible idea. There might even be some things we can do to make this temporary situation less painful. If our team must play games elsewhere, can we not call them “home games” played in a sister city? They are not home games, home is Glendale, AZ. Can we as a fan base come up with suggestions of an acceptable name we could call these games? Perhaps one with a desert theme such as the Coyotes Sand Storm Through Canada? I’d love to hear everyone’s feedback and ideas on this…
- Put a winning team on the ice - higher payroll: As we all know, the key to filling up the arena and attracting the casual fan is to put a competitive team on the ice and get everyone’s attention. We have the basic elements in place. But to truly ice a competitive team we need to add a few more “finishing touches”. Having a higher payroll will help us to attract the players we need to complete the equation. Let’s face the facts; there is a lot of work to be done here in Phoenix. We’ve got a scorned fan base to repair, financial issues to remedy and local sports fans that still need to be reached. And frankly folks, if we don’t start filling up seats now, the financial situation will only worsen, making eventual relocation inevitable regardless of who purchases the team. We need something to supplement the team’s income now while we work toward those goals.
- Work with the city of Glendale as a partner to drive more visitation and help the Coyotes cut costs.
- Implementation of core business principles to an organization that has displayed very little
- Utilizing the Gretzky brand more effectively
I ask that you all look over these elements, think about them and feel free to send me your feedback, thought, ideas etc. The final decision is of course in Judge Baum’s very capable hands. Let’s prepare ourselves so that when a final decision is made on team ownership we can get to work on what we need to do.
The deciding factor of whether our team stays or goes once a local bidder takes control will be dependent upon us. WE can insure that whomever takes over the ownership of the team will have no choice but to keep the Coyotes in Glendale. How? Fill the arena up with fans! That will remove any reason to take away our team. We have a nice new arena and there is no shortage of corporate sponsorship opportunities in Arizona. Attendance is our biggest issue; and its quite fixable. So get out there, talk to people, educate the desert on the joy of hockey.
Spread the love folks, let’s keep our team!
I welcome your feedback and concerns. I will do my best to get all your questions answered!
President, Save the Coyotes Coalition