Arizona Coyotes/NFL? Bad Morals And Bad Business

It should be win-win and instead it is lose-lose. The surreal thing about the Arizona Coyotes trying to get a $225 million subsidy from the Arizona legislature is why there is even such a subsidy bill proposed and considered. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman pleading for a bill which I suspect if he was an Arizona taxpayer, he wouldn’t even give the time of day for.

Phoenix taxpayers, specifically Glendale are already deeply in debt on an NHL arena – built specifically for the Coyotes at taxpayer expense – 13 years ago. That’s right, the Arizona Coyotes current arena, costing several hundred million dollars is no good after only 13 years. Planned obsolescence on a massive scale. Now Bettman has officially told everybody that the Coyotes are finished in Glendale, that building that arena was a mistake.

And he is right. In fact NO arena or stadium should be built with taxpayer money in any city. If an expensive facility should be placed on the junk heap after only such a short time, it has the word “sucker” written all over it. And those who did the suckering, in this case the NHL, should not get another penny for anything. Why even such a subsidy bill is before the Arizona legislature is the real mystery. And all this for a team that has only had one good NHL season in its entire existence.

There are too many other such tales. Montreal building a $1 billion dollar stadium for the Olympics in 1976 which later nobody claimed they liked to watch either a football or baseball game in. The Toronto Argonauts pulling out of the SkyDome/Rogers Field which fans claim is inappropriate and too far away to watch a football game. The wonderful Barclay’s Center, the home of the New York Islanders that has obstructed seats for watching hockey. Ottawa claiming that its Kanata home is too far away to attract fans.

Meanwhile Phoenix does not have enough taxpayer dollars to fund children’s schools. Glad to know that they have their priorities right. Perhaps Bettman and the Coyotes owners and management should send their children to Phoenix for their education.

Leagues

Adding to this wonderful story is the NFL stripping three of its “traditional” cities of their teams in the past two years, two of them, not because of bad support or bad facilities, but because their markets are not as big as Los Angeles. The NFL could have given Los Angeles two expansion teams and Las Vegas one, but instead caused pain to loyal, devoted fans in its existing markets with the shrug of its soldiers and not a blink of the eye. And it’s comforting to know that Buffalo, Minnesota, and Jacksonville as well as the three victims were listed unofficially on many websites as potential teams to be moved too. If “something better” comes up, their days could be numbered as well.

So much for fan loyalty. So much for local, regional, and state perks granted to North American professional sports owners. So much for subsidized facilities built at taxpayer expense. So much for the support of local corporate sponsorships. So much for extensive, local media coverage. Meanwhile during the Obama administration, 45 million Americans (and uncounted Canadians) have been unofficially been labeled “poor”. And much of the funding for these sports palaces and perks comes from these “poor” people’s tax dollars.

It is hard to know who is crazier, government officials who approve these grants of money or the fans themselves who want these “bread and circuses/sports drugs” at all cost. In fact the only sane people are the owners themselves. They know they can get the money and they go for it.

At least in Phoenix it is being reported that the subsidy bill has little chance to be enacted. That there are too many pressing concerns besides professional sports franchises. That even politicians are getting tired of being suckered by rich sports franchise owners. That there is one 13 year old sports facility built that is already too many. That too much has already been given to a franchise with only one decent season in its history.

That will leave the NHL in a real quandary. They have publicly stated that there is no future in Glendale and now there are no other places to play anywhere else in Phoenix. And they can’t move the Coyotes east to hockey starved Quebec, Hamilton, or Hartford because that will make the league conferences even more unbalanced. Seattle whom they favor the most is out of the picture because it can’t resolve its arena problem. Las Vegas has already got its expansion team to the tune of $500 million. So will Houston, Portland, Milwaukee, Kansas City, Oklahoma City, San Francisco, even Saskatoon come to the rescue? The NHL has already had to subsidize the Coyotes for several years. The only thing that is a pleasure in all this is for once the people who have already got too much are taking the hit and not the taxpayers.

(By the way, happy April Fools Day)

Pierre Karl Peladeau: Mr. Inconsistent

If only Pierre Karl Peladeau had been true to Quebec Nordiques fans… As every die-hard Nordique fan who is longing to get the team back knows, the NHL loves the newly built Videotron arena, is more than happy with the Quebec City fan base and market which stretches half way to Montreal and all the way into the four Maritime provinces. But the NHL Board cannot stand prospective owner Peladeau.

He was a suspect owner in many of the NHL owners’ eyes before he ever applied either to buy the Montreal Canadiens or restart the Quebec Nordiques because of his support for the separatist provincial political party, Parti Quebecois. Then when his company lost the Canadiens to Molson Breweries, he made an inappropriate remark about the new owner of the Canadiens, Geoff Molson and failed to reconcile with him. The situation called for tact, patience, and building bridges. Instead Peladeau merely confirmed the Board’s worst fears about him and made Commissioner Gary Bettman’s rejection of his Quebec Nordiques bid automatic.

Looking back, there is a significant difference between the recovery of the Winnipeg Jets and the attempted recovery of the Quebec Nordiques at the ownership factor. In the period before the Jets came back, Commissioner Bettman and maybe some of the NHL Board members were in constant touch with prospective owners Mark Chipman and Dave Thomson. The NHL had no qualms transferring the Atlanta Thrashers to their ownership and back to Winnipeg. It was obvious that the Board members liked Thomson and Chipman who was subsequently elected to the NHL Executive Committee.

But it was very different during the period up to the last expansion when the Videotron was built. Bettman was seen several times with the Quebec City mayor and the Quebec Provincial Premier, but not Peladeau. When any announcement is made from Quebecor about the Nordiques situation, it comes from Board member, ex-Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney. Peladeau, who would be the principle governor on the NHL Board if the Quebecor bid was accepted seems to have no direct personal contact with anyone connected with the NHL, understandable given his relationship with Geoff Molson. He is someone to be avoided and not spoken about.

But even if Peladeau did not make any remarks about Molson and took his Canadiens defeat with good grace, the NHL would be wise to avoid him. He is simply too inconsistent to be trusted by the NHL, Quebec Nordiques fans, or even the most committed Quebec separatist. His actions belong in the realm of absurdity. There is no logic behind obstructing the business activities of a colleague of a business rival, then make insensitive racial remarks about him in public, remarks that probably offended not only Molson, but other members of the NHL Board, and then seek to become a business partner on that same Board whom he has offended.

But it is not only in business that Peladeau is absurd, his political actions are completely incongruent. Here is a man claiming to be a supporter of a political party dedicated to restricting minority rights in Quebec and taking the province out of Canada. So what does this “separatist” do? He invests in Canada by buying the Sun Media Chain. Now he has employees of all kinds of nationalities right across Canada helping to make profits for his company. He is responsible for their welfare. Now he probably has to speak in English every day.

And if the Parti Quebecois whom he claims he supports does succeed in making Quebec a sovereign state, what will happen to the economy of the rest of Canada and the status of his enlarged company? His profits could take a nose-dive along with his rich life-style. This “separatist” has every reason to oppose the goals of the Parti Quebecois. His company’s future health is tied up in the prosperity of a united Canada and any action like restricting minority rights in Quebec still further, stirring up more separatist turmoil, or even planning another referendum is going to affect the prosperity of Canada and his profits.

So why would the NHL want such an inconsistent owner on its Board? They want someone they can believe in and trust. Why would any Quebec Nordiques fan want him as an owner? Why would any separatist voter support an investor/candidate who has made such a large financial commitment to Canada?

Who is Pierre Karl Peladeau? A separatist? A Quebec nationalist? A Canadian investor and businessman? Nobody knows and probably it is wise, like the NHL not to try and find out.

NHL Goes Back To Europe…But Don’t Pull An NFL

There was some good news and bad news when the NHL announced that it would play some regular season games in Europe once more, this time in Stockholm, Sweden. It will be the first regular season NHL games in Europe since 2011. The NHL is billing this as a revival of the “NHL Global Series” and will feature two games between the Ottawa Senators and the Colorado Avalanche in November.

The good news is that NHL is playing games in Europe once more. This will give the fans over there a chance to see the best players in the world playing in front of them again. There are several Swedish players on Ottawa and Colorado so there will be some native players to cheer for. It is also a great way to improve the morale of the non-North American NHL players, who now compose a significant 26% of the total NHL rosters. The NHL is also proclaiming that these games will be part of its Centennial Celebration.

It is also a good way to prepare the ground for future NHL expansion to Europe. While that is still a long-term goal, perhaps even a very-long-term goal, it is still a feasible future concept, not some dead, dormant idea that cannot be realized. With future improvements in transportation, travel to other continents may not be so difficult and teams in Europe and Asia competing for the Stanley Cup may occur at some later date. This is certainly a progressive, not backwards idea.

Besides the Stanley Cup is already an international trophy. European players on the winning team have been taking it to Europe every year and displaying it proudly over there just like their North American teammates do in Canada and the United States. Having teams based in Europe and Asia will just complete the picture.

The bad news is the team match-up. Ottawa is a good choice, but Colorado is worst team in the NHL this year and is vying with Las Vegas for the number one draft choice. While there are some good players on Colorado, some Swedish natives as noted above, and the idea of next year’s number 1 or 2 draft choice playing two games in Sweden is good, the NHL should not give Europe “garbage games” that are a poor draw in North America. Please NHL, do not ape the NFL.

That arrogant league has just sanctioned another “traditional” franchise city to lose its team – this time the San Diego Chargers, again to Los Angeles, just like it did last year to St. Louis, not because of poor fan support, not because of a bad stadium, but because Los Angeles is the second largest market in the United States and the NFL wants to peddle itself in larger, “more important” markets than “small city” St. Louis and San Diego. (What’s next? The Las Vegas Raiders? It’s a distinct possibility.) So much for loyal fan support, local corporate sponsorship, extensive local media coverage, and local government perks that were given to the NFL owners.

It is even more disgracefully arrogant when it is remembered that Los Angeles merely yawned when the Raiders and Rams left in 1995 and could not care less whether the NFL came back or not. Los Angeles was content to live for two decades without the NFL. In L.A., the movie star, not the sports figure is king and queen. Los Angeles certainly did not react the way the stricken cities of Baltimore, Cleveland, Houston, Oakland and St. Louis did when they lost their teams. Nor does the NHL, NBA and MLB sanction the stripping of franchises from cities on the scale the NFL does.

But the NFL’s arrogance does not stop there. They despise foreigners and make no secret of it. When the Buffalo Bills played some of their games in Toronto, ticket prices were set so high that even the most fanatical Toronto fans, longing for an NFL team of their own, had to wince and think twice about buying a ticket. Games did not come close to selling out. Still worse are the games that are played in London, England. Usually, the NFL selects the games between teams at the bottom of the heap, that are the worst draw, which they know will not sell out in North America and ships them off to football-starved London. Last year there were open calls of derision by the British NFL fans at the sheer gall and arrogance of it.

Hopefully that will not happen with this renewed “NHL Global Series”. The NHL has far more at stake in Europe than the arrogant NFL. The NHL has a significant number of European players, scouts, and management in its league and there is no need to offend them. Give the Europeans decent games to watch which will encourage fan support and pay off in the future. Hockey has to grow around the world and arrogance and stupidity by North American professional sports leagues will not help.

Chemistry Gone From The Los Angeles Kings

It’s over. With the St. Louis Blues victory over the Colorado Avalanche last night, the Western Conference playoff teams have been determined. It will be combinations of Chicago, Minnesota, San Jose, Edmonton, Anaheim, Calgary, St. Louis, and Nashville. Realistically the Los Angeles Kings, the only team currently out of a playoff spot that has any remaining hope of making the post-season will not make up the eight point difference that stands between them and St. Louis and Nashville with only ten games left. Los Angeles is not going to suddenly right the ship and go on the long winning streak necessary, nor are the teams they are trying to catch going into a prolonged slump.

It is quite a fall for the Kings who were Stanley Cup champions only three years ago in 2014, after winning their first Cup in 2012. Somehow the winning chemistry has been lost and the Kings will be out in the cold despite almost being handed a playoff position on a silver platter during this final quarter of the season. What is revealing is that at the trade deadline, the Kings added goaltender Ben Bishop from the Tampa Bay Lightning and then Jerome Iginla from the Colorado Avalanche, while the St. Louis Blues obligingly traded their best defenseman, Kevin Shattenkirk to Washington and the Kings fell while the Blues rose.

Only a year ago, Los Angeles and Chicago were trading Stanley Cups, each winning on alternative years. Last year it was supposed to be Los Angeles turn to win but one of the teams favored to win it all was instead eliminated in the very first round in only five games by the supposedly over-the-hill San Jose Sharks. The Kings had brought in Vincent Lecavalier and Milan Lucic to bring them back to the top but the chemistry obviously did not click.

This year, Lecavalier retired and Lucic was allowed to go to Edmonton, but the Kings have been mediocre at best. Star goaltender, Jonathan Quick got injured but backup Peter Budaj did a credible job until he was traded for Bishop who has not been what Los Angeles expected. It was a strange trade anyway with the Kings just getting back Quick after a serious injury and who would obviously be doing most of the goaltending. The Kings needed help elsewhere and the aging Iginla, well past his prime was not enough. It has to admitted that huge sums of money have been wasted where they could have been spent more wisely.

Still it is a mystery why the Kings, once so formidable have fallen so far so fast. Jonathan Quick is still here and so is star defenseman Drew Doughty. Up front there is still Jeff Carter and Anze Kopitar and coach Darryl Sutter is still behind the bench. The goal differential is a bad -6 but that does not tell the story. The Kings are actually a good defensive team but they are not scoring goals. It would have been better to have made a trade for forwards and defensemen who would have boosted the attack, not Ben Bishop. A top forward or an attacking defenseman are the obvious choices in this year’s draft.

It is still possible for the Kings to make the playoffs but it is highly unlikely. The forwards who were making a difference with Kopitar and Carter have been allowed to leave and the wrong players have taken their place. The Los Angeles attack has to be rebuilt. The winning chemistry that brought two recent Stanley Cups has vanished. The Kings, so recently one the envied teams in the NHL are in a real muddle.

What Can ZoneNordiques Do?

In a recent article, I wrote about how a pressure/lobby group can help facilitate either a new North America professional sports franchise or a returned former beloved team. In this article, I will focus on the Quebec City lobby group, ZoneNordiques which has special problems with getting their team back that other lobby groups might not have.

The two main obstacles that other cities seeking a new NHL franchise do not have and which are the main reasons that Quebec does not have its team back already are elitism and racism. In 2010, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman listed three conditions that all would-be NHL franchises must have: Fan-base, arena, and ownership. Quebec City has a fanatical fan-base and the new Videotron arena is so good, the NHL granted Quebec a World Cup exhibition game.

The problem is ownership which is tainted with racism and elitism. The would-be new owner of Quebecor, Pierre Karl Peladeau has made some enemies on the NHL Board of Governors, both for his politics (he is a supporter of the provincial separatist political party, Parti Quebecois), and for making an inappropriate racial remark about one of the governors, Geoff Molson and also obstructing the business of one of Molson’s colleagues. He has made no attempt to reconcile with Molson, and the NHL, though it likes Quebec as a franchise and wants that $500 million entry fee, wants no part of him. The NHL is prepared to wait indefinitely until a suitable owner appears so the result has been a stalemate.

It has been my contention that Gary Bettman has been working behind the scenes trying to find a suitable owner for a new Quebec team, and because there is virtually no news, it is difficult to know if anything is going on and if any progress is being made. It can also be speculated that Bettman may know that one of the Board of Governors either wants to sell or move his franchise and that Bettman is waiting for the current season to end and make the same kind of ownership manoeuver that he made to restore the Winnipeg Jets.

So what can the official Quebec lobby group, ZoneNordiques do? They are the most fanatical of all the Quebec Nordiques fans and like the previous “Manitoba Mythbusters” of the Winnipeg situation, want the team back the most.

As far as the ownership problem is concerned, assuming that Quebec will get an expansion franchise and not a relocated team, there are two possible solutions. First find a stereotype owner from inside the Province of Quebec. It goes without saying that this person will have enough money. Most likely he/she will be French Canadian, be tolerant and non-political, know the Quebec local, provincial and possibly even the Maritime markets, someone who wants to avoid unacceptable controversies like racism, be discreet and patient in public, and will put the Nordiques and the NHL first in all matters. ZoneNordiques can help Bettman and the NHL locate such people. Both in 1995 and now in 2016-17, no rich French Canadian investor from Quebec has come forward to rescue the Nordiques. It has been Peladeau or nobody.

At one time I speculated that Mario Lemieux might sell his Pittsburgh Penguin shares and then front a Quebec City ownership group. I wondered if the resignation of Patrick Roy from the Colorado Avalanche with General Manager ex-Nordique Joe Sakic’s blessing had something to do with resolving the ownership problem. So far, nothing has cracked the wall of silence. And that makes me wonder if such rich French Canadian Quebec residents even exist. ZoneNordiques members can do an investigation into this matter. They would know the who’s who of the Province of Quebec better than anybody. And if no such people exist, Gary Bettman, the NHL, and all Nordiques fans are wasting their time. Because if there are no people who fit the NHL stereotype owner, then Quebec City must accept the only other option: Outside ownership either by expansion or relocation.

This is nothing new in professional sports. Both Ottawa and Winnipeg in the NHL are owned by Torontonians, and when the Toronto Blue Jays of MLB were created in 1977, much of the financing came from Montreal. A new Quebec City owner could be either an anglophone Quebecer like Molson or Charles Bronfman of the Montreal Expos or a complete outsider from either “English Canada” or the United States who cannot speak a word of French.

Are Quebec Nordiques fans prepared to accept this? And it starts with ZoneNordiques. They have to debate this issue either on their website or amongst themselves first. Why? Because if the most fanatical Quebec Nordiques fans cannot accept an outsider who cannot speak French as an owner of the team, then NOBODY can. And if it is discovered that the ethnic and language background of a potential owner is more important than getting the Nordiques back, perhaps it is better that Quebec does not get a team. In every professional sports league in North America. teams are composed of multi-racial players with different religions who play in cosmopolitan cities. The NHL cannot tolerate an owner with even a sniff of racism. Can you imagine the uproar that would occur if an NFL, MLB, or NBA owner made an inappropriate remark about black people? Morale would be deteriorate, the league would get a bad image, and possibly there would even be lawsuits.

The NHL (and the CFL, NFL, NBA, and MLB) is not going to place a franchise in a city where it is going to get involved in unnecessary, inappropriate political, racial, ethnic, language, and religious controversies. They will not come to a city where an outside owner is going to be subjected to these kind of pressures. Hopefully ZoneNordiques will be in favor of outside ownership if that comes to pass and is the only way to get the Nordiques back. And if that happens, there is plenty that they can do.

They have to prepare the rest of their followers and the provincial Quebec public to accept such a situation. If there are troublemaking fans who want to stir up inappropriate controversies, then they have to be dealt with. If members of the French Canadian press throughout the province want to make language, ethnic background, and religion an issue, then they have to be told to lay off. And politicians who want to restrict minority rights still further and make owning and operating a Quebec City team more difficult through retaliatory legislation should be warned that it is unpopular and will be politically punished.

This issue is not just confined to the Nordiques. As noted above, none of the other professional sports leagues will place a franchise in Quebec City if inappropriate controversies ensue. Nor will the Olympics and other top international sports events come. Quebec will not get a Worlds Fair or international conventions if it gets a bad image. ZoneNordiques can help in this matter. They can displace any bad myths that have arisen. They can show Bettman, the NHL Board of Governors, and any potential investors that Quebec is a tolerant place to invest in and live. They can dispel any fears that outside investors might have about restarting the Nordiques again. Right now the ownership issue is in a stalemate. ZoneNordiques can help tip the scales in their favor and get their dream back like the Manitoba Mythbusters did.

PRESSURE GROUPS CAN HELP GET A NEW NHL FRANCHISE

One of the smartest things that occurred when Winnipeg and Quebec lost their franchises in the 1990s, was that their most fanatical fans banded together to form lobbying, pressure groups dedicated to getting their NHL franchises back. In Winnipeg they called themselves the Manitoba Mythbusters and in Quebec they called themselves ZoneNordiques. Both started their own websites to keep their loyal followings informed about what was going to make the day when the Jets and Nordiques would rise again, a glorious reality.

The Mythbusters and ZoneNordiques carefully play up every positive statement and action by NHL officials, potential investors, media commentators, NHL and ex-NHL players and just about anyone who says anything positive about the local market that could help reclaim their team. They vigilantly watch and wait for every sign of new NHL expansion so that their city can join in the bidding process. They try to rally public support whenever possible to demonstrate to the NHL that they are in earnest about getting their team back.

Winnipeg has already seen its dream come true. First, they saw their new arena which was supposed to be the home of the AHL Manitoba Moose be proclaimed acceptable by NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman. I used to feud with the Mythbusters on another blog about the size of their new arena which is the smallest in the NHL. Though I am in favor of a returned Jets, and Nordiques (and Whalers too), I believed (and still believe) that the arena does not have enough seats. I don’t want to see Winnipeg lose the Jets again because of arena problems, but the NHL is accepting their arena and I have had to eat my words. We’ll see in coming seasons if the size of the Winnipeg arena becomes a factor and if Winnipeg will have to build a new, larger one.

I have no problem with new Quebec Videotron that seats near the current NHL median of 18,500. Nor does the NHL. They showed how much they liked the Videotron by allowing Quebec to host an exhibition game in last year’s revived World Cup.

When Atlanta was ready to fold, Winnipeg was ready. They had already recruited Mark Chipman and Canada’s richest man, Dave Thomson to be the Jets new owners. The NHL liked their ownership too and had no qualms about turning the Thrashers into the Jets. But the same cannot be said of Quebec’s prospective owner, Pierre Karl Peladeau who has made bad enemies on the NHL Board. He has been deemed unsuitable by the NHL Board which turned down his application quickly without a second thought leaving the Quebec bid in limbo until a suitable owner is found.

ZoneNordiques want to see their dream come true too. They probably were instrumental in solving the first two conditions that Commissioner Bettman demanded in 2010, fan-base and arena. 80,000 fans signed a petition asking the Nordiques to be returned and they in turn indicated that they would not object if taxpayer money was used to build a new arena. It was probably a proud and hopeful day for ZoneNordiques when the Videotron was finally completed. Only the ownership factor has yet to be solved.

But they should take heart from the Mythbusters who never gave up and got through every obstacle until their dream came true. It cannot be said that the Manitoba Mythbusters were the key element in bringing back the Winnipeg Jets. But without their existence Winnipeg might still be without an NHL team. ZoneNordiques are in the same situation. If a suitable NHL owner can be found – perhaps located with their help – they too might have their ultimate day of joy.

As The Coyotes Play… #2

Welcome back to your favorite NHL soaper, “As The Coyotes Play”. In our last episode, we left the Coyotes howling that their new love Tempe, Arizona, an eastern suburb of Phoenix slapped their faces just as hard as Glendale, a western suburb of Phoenix, did when they told them that the marriage was over. The Coyotes were left wondering where to go and what do. We saw NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman trying to reassure Las Vegas Golden Knights owner, Bill Foley and himself that what is happening will not happen to every dessert team, that there will be a happily ever after ending in Phoenix.

Now in our first segment we see the Coyotes get hope back in their eyes when they are told that the Arizona legislature is considering passing a bill to allow funding for a new downtown Phoenix arena. We see the parched tongues of the Coyotes start to drool that there may at last be water in the dessert heat. But the bill is still in the debating stage. We don’t know how much the legislature and the Phoenix and Arizona public love the Coyotes. It will show in future weeks. Time for our first commercial break.

When we return, we see NHL Commissioner Bettman tearfully pleading to the Arizona legislature to pass this bill. He speaks eloquently that he believes in an NHL Phoenix franchise and reiterates how the league is committed to Phoenix. Then he earnestly points out all the job-creations that will occur, all the revenue that will be raised if a new arena is constructed. He angrily repudiates that Glendale hussy, who never made a profit the whole time she shared the Coyotes bed and boldly states that he is finished with her for good.

Then one of the Coyotes Arizona owners, Andrew Barroway arises and repeats with more emphasis the Commissioner’s words. He stresses the advantages of job creation and revenue raising should a new arena in the Phoenix valley be built in a suitable location. He again denounces false, philandering Glendale for her inability to make any money in all the years of their marriage. Returning to her bed is out of the question forever. Time for another commercial break.

When we return we see the Arizona Coyotes General Manager, John Chayka sobbing bitterly because the Coyotes may leave Phoenix. He tells the touching story of NHL first overall draft choice Auston Matthews, now with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Local hero Matthews current brave knightly deeds could not have occurred if the NHL had not come to Phoenix. To leave the dessert would be a betrayal of Matthews and all the NHL has accomplished to build hockey in Arizona. The children in the Phoenix area that have taken up hockey as their favorite sport would suffer an irreparable loss.

But Bettman and Barroway reappear and solemnly warn the legislature that the Coyotes will consider “all the options” if something suitable cannot be worked out. But they never state what these other options are. Can that mean that there are other lovely eyes out there that want the love-starved Coyotes? One thing if that is true, it will be a western girl like Portland, Seattle, and Houston, not some faraway eastern lass like Hamilton, Quebec and Hartford.

So how will the Arizona legislature answer? How many more years will the Coyotes have to spend in the detested Glendale bed? Will the Coyotes yet live in the dessert heat or become a piece of nostalgia? We leave you in cliff hanging suspense until the next episode of “As The Coyotes Play…”