This past week I was lucky enough to travel from the cold of the great white north to the sunny city of Phoenix Arizona. As with most of my vacations this was strictly business... meaning I was totally just traveling all that way to watch the beloved Avs take on the Jets.... erm Coyotes.
Most of you don't really know me but the reason I am an Avalanche fan is because of the Nordiques. I was a huge Sakic fan as a young kid and when they moved I didn't understand why my dad was telling me I had to choose a new team, it just didn't make sense to me why it was gone. So in this entire situation with Phoenix and Winnipeg I have been completely for the Yotes being the Jets once again as I still feel some resentment for the NHL moving these two teams south. My opinion on this has slightly changed.
First of all one of the major complaints about the Coyotes is the fact that Jobing.Com Arena is so far from the city... this is true, it is also in unattractive Glendale far from the higher end more hockey-price-friendly Scottsdale. One thing they have nailed down at the arena is parking. There is TONS of it as it is right beside the megalith that is the University of Phoenix Stadium. The biggest concern of mine is that all that parking... IT WAS FREE. And I'm not talkin' park a 25 minute walk just to save $10, I am talkin' you go park right across the street for free or on the Arena grounds for $10. While many might say that is awesome, parking is a main revenue stream for cities or owners supporting teams, so for the at least 9000 fans that parked there that is a huge loss.
The arena is beautiful, at just over 17,000 it is one of the nicest barns I have EVER been in and I have traveled to at least half of the NHL arenas. The main concourse has a very open concept so that you can see the ice from behind all the seating areas. The nosebleeds is the 200 section, it doesn't do a full loop as it is broken off by press boxes, the suites are doubled up on top of each other and there is a Gallery section. The maroon seats were noticeably empty until mid-first period, but I could still see what I was expecting which was a distinct lack of attendance (it was announced over 15,000 but there is no way it could have been over 12). Now I know our Avs haven't been solid in attendance this year either but we are talking about a fan base arguing for it's existence.
Now as for the fan-base, they are a solid bunch of people(although me being Canadian I got a kick out of the ones wearing gloves and using blankets while I was in shorts and a jersey and hearing people who aren't traditional hockey fans talk hockey and the lingo they use is also quite entertaining). Almost every single person in that arena wore a Yotes jersey. I am not sure I have seen that many people wear a teams jersey to a game, I was impressed. Once things got started I was shocked at how loud the small crowd got, the fans howl on cue and absolutely rocked the place. The goal song for the coyotes was Howlin' for You by The Black Keys, and I admit that I cannot think of a better goal song in the league especially because after the line "baby I'm howling for you" the entire crowd then howls.
After the game I got to thinking, and this entire time I have been pro-jets, I want the Jets back in Canada. Now however I feel like stealing from the team from these fans because of mis-management and poor choices is such an unfortunate thing to do. While this is exactly what happened to the Jets which forced them to leave in the first place (that and the CDN $ and other reasons) two wrongs don't make a right.
In conclusion or the TL;DR version of this post, if the Jets land in Winnipeg this fall I will feel quite bad for those great fans in Phoenix. It will certainly be bittersweet and I know I won't be as staunch of a supporter of the removal of hockey from that city.
Thanks for reading.
Also I wanted to brag that I smacked Boods on the shoulder and told him to get 'em out there on his 100th win... nbd...