The Phoenix Coyotes play in the most unlikely state to have a hockey team, Arizona. They have been consistently at or near the bottom of the league in attendance since they relocated from Winnipeg in 1996, and even filed for bankruptcy back in 2009. Their performance on the ice has been average at best and embarrassing at it’s worst. The last time they qualified for the playoffs also happened to be their last decent season, 2011. To be fair, they did finish just 2 points shy of qualifying for the playoffs in 2013.
If not for the Canadian group Renaissance Sports and Entertainment, the Coyotes probably would have relocated to Seattle several years ago. Instead, the city of Seattle has to wait a couple more years to get a new franchise. Even after the group saved the team, they didn’t hold onto it for long as they sold it to local group IceArizona in 2013. IceArizona then sold its shares to majority holder Andrew Barroway in 2014. To continue their string of bad luck, the Coyotes recently signed deal for a 15 year lease with the city of Glendale was cancelled due to a conflict of interest when it was discovered that two city employees who helped to reach the agreement worked for the team after the deal was made. On top of all that, their plans to build a new stadium near Arizona State’s campus was ultimately cancelled because the university pulled back their funding.
One would think that with so much turmoil both in the front office and on the ice a decision would have eventually been made to cut the losses and try to either relocate the team to a new city or end the franchise completely. If you go on the Coyotes website today, for all the attempted changes in recent years, you will find that they still play in the same arena they’ve called home since 2003, they are still located in the city of Glendale, and they are still playing near the bottom of the standings. The only imminent change coming for the Coyotes will be a relocation, not from Glendale, but from their current division. In the year 2021, the Coyotes will change from the Pacific division to the Central division to make room for the long awaited arrival of an NHL franchise in the city of Seattle.