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Columnist: Move the Coyotes to Hamilton for a few seasons

Nov 29, 2011, 7:01 PM EDT

Copps Coliseum

If the Phoenix Coyotes don’t find an owner that’s willing to keep them in the desert, and soon, it’s likely 2011-12 will be their last season at Jobing.com Arena. The City of Glendale simply can’t keep covering the franchise’s losses and the NHL doesn’t want to own a team forever.

It begs the question, if the Coyotes have to move out of Arizona, where would they play next season? Winnipeg’s MTS Centre was always the first choice, until the Thrashers beat them to the punch.

Most of the speculation these days has the club moving to Quebec City, where there are plans to build a new NHL-caliber arena by 2015. Presumably the team would play at the old Colisée until then.

However, Ken Campbell of The Hockey News has another idea – temporarily move the Coyotes to Hamilton, Ont., where they’d play at Copps Coliseum for a couple of season. Then, move them again into the new arena that’s planned for Markham, a suburb of Toronto.

By the time the NHL has to make a decision on Phoenix, at the very least the Markham arena will be under construction, so the league could even award the franchise to Toronto this summer if it chose to do that, then begin playing in the new building for the 2014-15 season.

I’d still wager on the Coyotes moving to Quebec City, but the question of where they’d call home next season is an interesting one.

It might actually be fun to watch a team play at the Colisée. Like taking a time machine to an era before luxury suites and HD video boards. I mean, this is a hockey rink right here:

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  1. johnhisc3 - Nov 29, 2011 at 7:30 PM

    I know you think there are NO fans in Arizona, But show some respect for fans like myself. I have commited myself to this team and done all I can…I haven’t missed a home game in 3 years. Not every hockey game needs to be in the GTA… Or Canada for that fact… The growth of this sport requires time and patience…Nothing against Canada, I am Canadian by blood but I am curious to see when Canada slips in to a recession again…AND it will…how powerful Canadian Hockey will be, all of the Canadian Teams at some point (Especially Ottawa) Besides the Leafs have had attendance/financial issues… Arizona has already doubled its amount of RINKS and is expanding as I type this. Our youth hockey is flourishing. Without the Coyotes this would not be happening. Not me, Not you, Not one Dirtbag Canadian Media person can control what the fate for the Yotes Will be. But until then all I ask is you show respect. Why not discuss how if we win tonite against the Hawks we are #1 in the Pacific? Or how our next 2 weeks schedule is the hardest of the season. Or our 4th in the NHL Penalty Kill? Or instead of talking about moving, come down here for a game. I’ve been to 20 different NHL rinks, ours is the nicest, cleanest and by far when our Yotes Score One of the loudest I have ever heard…. Even if there is only 8000 of us early in the season…. Plus you can wear shorts, sandals and have a beer in Westgate at an outdoor bar before a game in January… This truely is Hockey Heaven!
    GO YOTES GO!!!!!! Howwwwwwwwwwwwlllllllllllllllllllllll!!!

    • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Nov 29, 2011 at 7:51 PM

      Hmm interesting. First of all, what makes you speculate Canada is heading for another recession? Things aren’t great but by comparison to the rest of the world we’re doing just fine. Not sure why you felt the need to call the Canadian media a bunch of dirtbags either. You’re right, none of us can control the fate of the Coyotes but the laws of supply and demand can. Not enough demand means you go somewhere that has enough, simple as that. Bettman experimented with expanding hockey to “non-traditional markets” and it has generally been a failure. You say growing the game takes time and patience, but both of those have run out at this point. Sorry, but bringing the team to Canada will allow them to play in front of a packed house every night thereby allowing the organization to stop hemorrhaging money. The players win, the fans win, the league wins. It’s unfortunate that you’re losing your team but life’s not fair. P.S. wearing shorts to a hockey game in a quarter-full arena is not my idea of “hockey heaven”

    • taytay099 - Nov 29, 2011 at 8:59 PM

      Sure there are fans and it’s slowly growing in popularity, but the team is losing money and has no owner right now. Pretty tough to keep the team there in its current condition. Not enough people appreciate the team the way you do and it doesn’t seem likely that the team stays. This article is about where the team moves IF it has to move.

  2. dwil12 - Nov 29, 2011 at 7:55 PM

    there are AHL teams that have better attendance than the coyotes. they are next to last is attendance percentage and last in total attendance. cant fill the seats then you dont deserve a team. sucks for the actual fans like yourself but thats how it works. the sad part is all the positives you wrote about the coyotes this year and still play in front of a half empty stadium. so i dont see why you are getting upset at media types for stating facts. actually somewhat uncalled for. phoenix is not a sustainable hockey market plain and simple.

    • brucewaynewins - Nov 30, 2011 at 12:40 PM

      Actually you are 100% wrong about AHL team’s outdrawing Phoenix according to both league’s provided stats. Now if you argue one team pads tickets sold you have to argue it for both unless you are a member of the ticket office for the team/arena of both.

      Phoenix 10,671 avg for 62.3% avg sold through 12 games

      AHL Top Attendance

      Hershey 9,446 avg through 10 games
      Followed by a distance second place of

      San Antonio 6,894 avg through 10 games

      Now besides being factually wrong ( I understand you’re reasoning) minor attendance is not a precursor to NHL attendance. If it was then how come Gwinette in the ECHL isn’t tripled in attendance with Atlanta gone? Look at any recent city to lose or gain a pro team vs its minor league. It doesn’t always add up.

      I’m not saying San Antonio for example couldn’t support large crowds in the NHL than they do in the AHL because they likely would.

      That said this isn’t just about tickets sold. Its about the team not making enough money to stay afloat where it is. Phoenix will move because financially at this point nobody is willing to lose the money for years in hopes things turn around.

      Personally I’d prefer Phoenix move to Canada or somewhere out west IE Seattle, Portland, KC.

      Either way somebody will be heart broken and unfortunately it’ll be those in Phoenix who support the team like johnhisc3. But this is out of his control.

  3. ballsohardu - Nov 29, 2011 at 10:23 PM

    Yeah the team needs to be moved. I doubt you’ve been to 20 different arenas if you think the “yotes” fans cheer the loudest after a goal… Sounds a little biased there lol

  4. t16rich - Nov 30, 2011 at 10:18 AM

    Even Phoenix hockeyfans have to admit this team would be better elsewhere. They seems to only sellout when they play a top team who has 5,000 of their own fans in the crowd. The Jackets, Stars, Isles, Yotes need to get it figured out cause I can think of 4 cities that will bring the NHL more cash. First the Ontario area in general. Quebec City. Seattle and Portland people!!! Portlands WHL averaged 8,000 fans in the playoffs. So far the Yotes are only averaging 10,000. Hahaha. Portlan would be a way better NHL city than Phoenix and thats a fact based off that stat alone.

  5. Elite Leadership Training - Leadership Out Front!!! - Nov 30, 2011 at 11:12 AM

    Bottom line, you can’t grow the game by moving another team to Canada. Glendale needs to give concessions so a realistic owner will by the Coyotes and give that market a go; it can be done.

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