My last article on Bleacher Report, was a season preview for the Pittsburgh Penguins. At the time, I said in that article that there was no better topic to discuss at the time. However, I didn’t think about the Phoenix Coyotes.
The ‘yotes have been in the middle of a financial turmoil, and if the city of Glendale and the NHL think that I am about to back them, they are dead wrong. Ever since the Coyotes were moved to Phoenix from Winnipeg, a move brought to you buy the Commish himself, Gary Bettman, the team’s attendance has been going down, and not stopping.
I realize that there are some Coyotes fans out there, and they probably love their team as dearly as I support the Penguins, but unfortunately, not only does the team not have enough fans, but they also have no business being in Phoenix (no pun intended). I can’t remember the last time that they sold out a game, Detroit Red Wings fans, out number ’yotes fans, in Phoenix, and I don’t think that they’ve had a single snowfall on record in Arizona.
Now that we have a reason for the Coyotes to move, where do they move? Jim Balsillie, and his PSE team want to move the team to Hamilton, Ontario, with their “Make It Seven” campaign. However is that the best move for the franchise?
Let’s look at some attendance rates of the current team occupying the Hamilton market, the AHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs. The average attendance rate for the Hamilton Bulldogs for the 2008-2009 season, was 4,623. That is pretty poor for the “greatest hockey market in the world, not served by an NHL team”, as Balsillie calls it.
Also, all of the following OHL markets had a better average attendance then Hamilton in the 2008-2009 season. London (9,006), Ottawa (7,865), Kitchener (6,245) Windsor (5,063) and Oshawa (4,794). Oh yeah, Hamilton truly is the greatest hockey marker ever. Here’s a good question, has Jim Balsillie seen these stats? What is also very funny, is that London Knights, and the Ottawa 67‘s, both have better attendance averages, then the Manitoba Moose, which is in Winnipeg.
These are all very peculiar facts, because maybe we shouldn’t be focusing on Hamilton and Winnipeg, maybe the markets that we’re focusing on aren’t the right ones. The Knights’ are in a league that is two levels down from the Bulldogs’ league, yet their attendance is almost 5,000 people more. Does that say anything?
I hope that you enjoyed reading this article as much as I did writing it, and while I do hope that the Phoenix Coyotes get moved, I hope that whoever moves it, make the right choice. Please Comment, and take part in the poll!