By Katie Joly
Since 2009 when the Phoenix Coyotes and then owner, Jerry Moyes, declared bankruptcy, the fate of the franchise has been up in the air. Numerous groups have attempted to buy the team but no deal has ever been finalized leaving the NHL in control of the team.
Once again, discussions about the fate of the team have surfaced. The NHL has decided that within the next month or two they will either sell the team to a buyer or allow the team to relocate. Ideally, the NHL and the mayor of Glendale, Jerry Weiers, would like to keep the team in Glendale at minimal cost to taxpayers.
The alternative option for the Coyotes is relocation. There are only two legitimate options available; Quebec City, Canada and Seattle, Washington. After the success the Winnipeg Jets saw in their return to Canada, Quebec City seems like a viable option for the team because of the city’s past experience hosting an NHL team (Quebec Nordiques). They have also started constructing a brand new arena and former Quebec Nordiques owner, Marcel Aubut, is one of the men leading the campaign to bring hockey back to Quebec. If they do move to Quebec, the team and their new arena would be headed by Pierre-Karl Peladeau, owner of Quebecor, one of Canada’s largest media companies. However, adding a team to Quebec City would affect the NHL’s new realignment proposal.
Moving the team to Seattle presents its own issues as well. Though the realignment would not be affected, the team would be moving into an extremely competitive market as Seattle is home to the MLB Seattle Mariners, NFL Seattle Seahawks, MLS Seattle Sounders, and the University of Washington Huskies. Another issue is the arena. Recently an arena was approved in Seattle but it needs to secure an NBA tenant before construction breaks ground. There have been talks around the NBA suggesting to move the struggling Sacramento Kings to Seattle. Such a proposal has yet to be made. One of the biggest questions raised is whether or not Seattle would be able to support the addition of two new professional sports teams given all of the competition already in the market.
One of the most recent options for relocation has been Kansas City, home to the NFL Kansas City Chiefs and the MLB Kansas City Royals but the likelihood of a team relocating to Kansas City within the next year is slim.
If relocating the franchise is the option that the NHL chooses, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the team move to Quebec City. It is the most viable option if the team does relocate. Many fans and critics of the NHL believe the team should relocate regardless of potential buyers in Glendale as the market has always struggled to support the Coyotes due to the competition of NBA Phoenix Suns, NFL Arizona Cardinals, MLB Arizona Diamondbacks, and Arizona State University.
As the 2012-2013 NHL season continues, we will have to wait and see whether or not the Coyotes will call Glendale home next season or move north to a new home.
Photo Credit: Phoenix Coyotes