All the votes in the Tempe referendum were counted, and it became clear that Arizona does not have a “Plan B.” The team members confused in social networks under the guise of plans for a new publication of the arena of the club “Rick Roll”, but in the situation of “Arizona” this does not look funny. The club’s best young talent, 2022 third pick Logan Cooley, decided to spend another season in the NCAA, and while he didn’t cite the situation at the Coyotes as the main reason for his decision, it’s hard to call it a coincidence.
Landfill more expensive than hockey? Four thousand voters put the NHL club on the brink of disaster
Despite the fact that in five years two new teams appeared in the NHL, in 25 years only one franchise moved from the league: in the summer of 2011, Atlanta was reborn as Winnipeg. At the same time, there are many people who want to start an NHL club, but the expansion potential is already clearly limited, and the league entry fee is very high. Therefore, the media field is full of rumors about a possible place of relocation, and here are the main cities, which are called:
The largest city in Texas is a favorite of American bookmakers, who award 40% on the appearance of the second-largest state NHL team in the country. Houston has a hockey history: Gordie Howe played on the WHA’s Eros. When the two leagues merged, Houston applied to join the NHL; however, the WHA’s quota was limited to four clubs, of which three represented Canada. Due to this, the owner of Eros himself closed the team.
Houston is the fourth largest city in the country: it is curious that Phoenix is just behind. But Texans, unlike their neighbors, shouldn’t have a problem with the arena: Tilman Fertitta, who bought the Rockets basketball and stadium from him a few years ago, spoke about his interest in the NHL team. Immediately after buying the NBA club, he said: “I would buy myself an NHL team even tomorrow. I would like to see this stadium full 300 days a year.” In 2019, Fertitta said that “not a month goes by that I don’t discuss the issue of the NHL.”
Photo: Brett Coomer/Getty Images
The owner of the Rockets has money – most recently, he tried to buy an NFL team from Washington for almost $ 6 billion, Arizona would most likely cost 6-7 times less. Then the businessman will make his dream come true, and hockey journalists will have the opportunity at least once a year to get into the headlines playing on the words “Houston” and “trouble.”
Kansas City (Missouri)
This Kansas is not in the state of the same name, which is famous for tornadoes, but in Russia, also Ellie and Totoshka. In the US, sports Kansas is best known for the Chiefs, the NFL team that won the Super Bowl in January. Quarterback Patrick Mahomes, one of America’s most famous athletes, wrote on social media: “Kansas City Coyotes” – sounds great! What do you think, NHL?
The NHL isn’t thinking of anything yet, but the bookies give Kansas 17% to move. The situation is a bit absurd: the city has a fairly new arena (built in 2007), but it is practically not used at all. There was an NHL team in town in the 1970s, but the Scouts only lasted two years due to financial problems. From time to time there are concerts, UFC fights or even NHL preseason games, but it has no permanent owner. There are soccer and baseball teams in Kansas, but investors willing to contribute to the move have so far not been mentioned. Maybe “for now”?
Salt Lake City (Utah)
But here’s a clear contender: Just like in Houston, the owner of the basketball team shows activity. Jazz owner Ryan Smith already met with Gary Bettman a month ago and gave clear hints on social media that work was underway. In the Mormon state, hockey is loved: again, the preseason games can serve as proof of this: last year, all tickets to the Vegas vs. Los Angeles sold out very quickly.
Face off circle at the 2002 Summer Olympics
Photo: Brian Bahr/Getty Images
The league can only be embarrassed by the insufficient capacity of the arena: In its hockey configuration, it can only accommodate 14,000 spectators. However, Salt Lake City is scheduled to host the Olympic Games in 2030, and a large new stadium is expected to be built for this event, where professional teams will then be able to play. The possible appearance of an NHL team in the state has already been pointed out by the governor of Utah: according to him, the very talk about the possible appearance of the club shows how the state has grown in recent years.
“Sho, again?” – I just want to comment on the appearance of the city among the contenders. The previous attempt to make a team in Atlanta was remembered by Russian fans for the mediocre waste of the best years of Ilya Kovalchuk (but thanks to this he constantly played for the national team) and zero wins in the playoffs. At the same time, the co-owners of the team dragged each other across the courts and had no time for sports: parting ways, the league fined the negligent owners $60 million for the forced relocation. Also, we can remember the fact that in the 1970s, the Atlanta Flames only lasted eight years in the city.
Kovalchuk’s best season in the NHL. In it, he embarrassed Crosby and scored 52 goals.
Even before the news of Arizona’s troubles, some American journalists were warming up the public with hints about a possible number three attempt. Gary Bettman mentioned interest from the city, but made it clear that the NHL had no plans to expand yet. He may explain why they’re not giving up on Georgia: Atlanta also remains one of the country’s largest cities, home to America’s most-visited soccer team. But will the league itself want to get involved in this adventure again? In 2011, the NHL wrote off the Thrashers with an “out of sight, out of mind” style.
The Nordics were taken out of Canada exactly one year before the championship of the future Colorado. True, it would hardly have taken place without the exchange of Patrick Roy, and he, in turn, would hardly have gone to the main enemies of Montreal from him. Since then, in Quebec, we have almost incessantly pined for the lost team. The new stadium draws a sellout even in the youth league, and 18,000 spectators turned out for the recent QMJHL final.
Joe Sakic in a Quebec uniform
Photo: Mitchell Layton/Getty Images
However, the NHL clearly does not want to give birth to the second “Winnipeg” – a team from a small Canadian market, although it passionately loves hockey. In addition, for the good of the Nordics, conferences should be cut, since they will replace the West team. Also, former Montreal coach Michel Therrien said in plain text a year ago that powerful Canadiens owner Jeff Molson doesn’t want the Nordiques’ renaissance.
“Great hockey state, great hockey city. Wailers sweaters are still among the best sellers. I think we can guarantee the league a strong market and a state government association,” the state governor decided to personally deal with the return of the whalers. Such attention is not surprising: the Whalers were the only Big Four team to play in the small state of Connecticut.
However, the issue has yet to be resolved, which in many ways was the reason the club moved from Hartford to Carolina. The local stadium is old and can hold less than 15,000 spectators in a hockey configuration – it needs about 100 million dollars to rebuild it – Also, as in the case of Quebec, the conferences will need to be redesigned.