In these shaky economic times, even sports, once thought to be “recession-proof,” have felt the pinch.
Nowhere has this been more apparent than with the Phoenix Coyotes.
The Coyotes, who filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in May, are awaiting a hearing on Monday to determine if the sale of the team will be postponed until September. So far, the only legitimate buyer is Chicago sports mogul Jerry Reinsdorf (who owns the White Sox and the Bulls).
However, that offer is being challenged by former owner Jerry Moyes, among others, saying that it is too little and leaves nothing to give to creditors.
Moyes would like to sell the team to Canadian billionaire Jim Balsillie, who would move the team to Hamilton, Ontario, which would not only anger fans, but leave only three teams in the Southwestern United States (Dallas, Los Angeles and Anaheim).
Of course, like all situations like this, it all boils down to money. However, they are forgetting about the one thing that supplies a good chunk of that money: the fans. Unfortunately, it seems that no matter how hard both sides (fans and owners) try, they can never seem to both be happy at the same time.
As a fan of hockey myself and a person who has seen teams dissolve to the chagrin of their loyal fans, here are some suggestions to make both sides happy and help the franchise:
Follow the lead of the Packers- The Green Bay Packers have been owned by the people of Green Bay since their inception. As a result of that (plus the fact that they have won a few championships), the citizens have seen large returns on their investment, and the team has thrived.
The city of Phoenix is considerably bigger than Green Bay, so having each citizen of Phoenix take a share of the team might raise the money they need in no time. Not only that, it would help the owners wash their hands of the considerable fiasco that has been the downfall of a franchise with some potential.
Play To Win- The Coyotes are a very young team, but the potential is there to be a high-caliber team. I believe the expression “you gotta spend money to make money” works very well in this case: the acquisition of one or two top-tier players could be just what the Coyotes need to make a big playoff run or even win the Stanley Cup.
This way, the fans fill the arena, the owners fill their bank accounts, and the Coyotes will survive just as well as the other 29 teams. Shane Doan has been a great asset so far, but they need one or two more pieces to be legitimate playoff contenders.
Stimulus Package- By a “stimulus package,” I mean the institution of a luxury tax, no matter how unpopular it might be to the players union, among other groups. This would allow Phoenix to sign some of those top-tier players that they need to make that playoff run.
This would undoubtedly break up some teams that have extensive talent, such as the Red Wings and the Penguins, but it would achieve some semblance of parity (read: not having the same five or six teams winning the Stanley Cup every year).
So there you have it: some of the ways we can keep the Phoenix Coyotes in the Southwest. If one of these suggestions are followed, it will keep the owners happy and the fans coming through the turnstiles.
Either way, to Phoenix fans, it’s better than rooting for the Hamilton Coyotes.