I have been mildly vocal on Twitter about all this relocation talk of the Coyotes, especially last season, when I was reasoning with the NHL as to why they would keep the Coyotes in Phoenix and it really did make sense to me. Show the people of Phoenix and Glendale some quality hockey, some winning hockey and more people will come out and watch the game. Thankfully, there was a good playoff run (of only one series, but still) in 2010 and the seats were filled. "If you win some, then they will come."
I was not prepared, as an NHL fan, to let Phoenix go without hoping for a good fight. I really like hockey and I would really love it if more people watched the game and admired how good it is, much like I do. Building the hockey community is one of the best things we can do as individual ambassadors of the game. Hell, one day I'd like to go down to Phoenix, more likely in the Winter, and I wouldn't mind taking in a hockey game down there, just so I can have some of the seasonal luxuries without the blah weather.
What I'm not going to do, however, is argue a point which has little to no arguments, because it's just beating one's head into a brick wall, there just isn't any point.
That brings us to today. There was a report published by the CBC, posted on Twitter by Puck Daddy's @Wyshnyski, which says that the NHL has a contingency plan in their scheduling for the possibility that the Phoenix Coyotes have to relocate to... Winnipeg!
I only get excited for this because there are league officials talking seriously about the possibility of the relocation, not as a comment or a rumour, but as a generalized fact. At the very least, that is very exciting news, because if they are officially thinking about it, then we now have an official reason to keep our fingers crossed (for those who really want a team in Winnipeg or Canada, for that matter).
Of course, there are plenty of circumstances that have to be measured out and weighed accordingly in order for the team's fate to be officially decided, but I think there are some interesting things being said that may have the scale tipped towards Winnipeg more than Phoenix/Glendale.
The biggest hurdle, which looks to be a well placed mountain in the path, is that the NHL and their potential owners are looking to the City of Glendale, where the Jobing.com Arena is located, to cover the losses incurred by the Coyotes and the NHL in order to seal a lease agreement. You would think that would just be a business deal that just involves money, but there are a lot of concerns of where that money is coming from and how it looks playing out. In the CBC article, there is a big quote box that reads: "Under Arizona's constitution, cities are not allowed to give subsidies to private sports owners, or any private businesses for that matter." Constitutional matters are not historically easy to overcome, which leads me to believe that this is a purposeful matter that the NHL needs the City of Glendale to say no to and then the league can officially wash their hands of the matter, claiming that they've done all they can in order to keep the franchise alive in Arizona and have no choice but to move it.
The league obviously doesn't want to fork out any more money for losses, neither do their owners and board members, so if there is a potential suitor to the franchise that would take on that lump sum and the put the team in a place where there is plenty of support, then the league really has no choice and there is no argument pending. This is why I can back it, because it must be done.
I didn't back the Balsille bids for the sake of moving a team to Canada for the sake of moving the team, I think that just looked exceptionally greedy of Canada as a whole. "It's our game and we're taking our puck and going home." Now, at least there is proper reason assessed and all the avenues have been exhausted to keep hockey with fans that are likely just discovering the game for the first time. I really hate to take this wonderful sport away from them, but it's not my choice, all I can do is say if I like the move or not and in this case... I do.