Wanna blog? Start your own hockey blog with My HockeyBuzz. Register for free today!

In Hainsight: Time to Put Down the Dog

May 17, 2023, 4:22 PM ET [740 Comments]
Karine Hains
Montreal Canadiens Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
Follow me @KarineHains for all updates about the Montreal Canadiens and women's hockey

The Arizona Coyotes have been in the desert for 27 years now and to stay they’ve struggled would be an understatement. They’ve got more bankruptcies to their name than playoffs series wins, and they’ve had a whooping 7 ownership changes. For some reason, Gary Bettman was hell bent on making things work in that market even though most anyone and their mother knows it’s not going to happen. This situation reached a ridiculous point when the league allowed the team to temporarily play in Mullet Arena, a 4,500-seat capacity facility on Arizona State’s campus. The powers that be said that it was a temporary measure and now that the Tempe voters have voted in overwhelming fashion against the Entertainment District project which would have included an NHL caliber building for the Coyotes, there doesn’t seem to be many options left.

The truth of the matter is that an NHL franchise cannot operate viably in such a small arena and while Bettman was able to get the owners of the other teams to be patient with the moribund franchise, it’s high time to take it off the revenue sharing life support. As soon as the result of yesterday’s vote was known, Bettman put out a statement: “The National Hockey League is terribly disappointed by the result of the public referenda regarding the Coyotes’ arena project in Tempe. We are going to review with the Coyotes what the options might be going forward.” For once, there is no mention of the league being committed to the Coyotes remaining in Arizona and it’s about time. As for the Coyotes CEO Xavier Gutierez he said: “What is next for our franchise will be evaluated by our owner and the National Hockey League in the coming weeks”. Nothing there to indicate a willingness to stick to the desert pipe dream, not even calling the team by its Arizona Coyotes’ name, that’s telling.

At long last, it looks like the League is getting ready to put the proverbial dog and move the Coyotes elsewhere. Where? Well, there are many options with the likes of Houston, Kansas City, Salt Lake City and even Atlanta (for a third kick at the can) being mentioned as possibilities. Wherever they land, it seems more likely than not that it will be somewhere in the USA where Bettman is committed to breeding new hockey markets. Clearly, things need to move fast, and the League will need to find a new home which already has facilities available to welcome a new team. A sharing of the Utah Jazz’s building in Salt Lake City would be such a possibility, just like the T-Mobile Centre in Kansas City.

Having a building is not all a professional team needs though, and there is a strong hockey market north of the border which has been dreaming of a new NHL team for quite a while now. Quebec City built its multipurpose arena and opened it in 2015 thinking that “if you build it, they will come”, but they are still waiting 8 years later. They’ve seen Las Vegas get a team, they’ve seen Seattle get a team and they’ve been using the building for the Quebec Remparts since its opening. As I’m writing these lines, the Remparts are leading the LHJMQ final 2 games to 1 against the Halifax Mooseheads and they are selling out the 18,259 seats every single game in Quebec. I know, tickets to junior hockey are cheaper than NHL tickets, but still, it shows that the city loves its hockey and is a legitimate hockey market.

The League wants rivalries? They are foaming at the mouth at the idea of a Houston-Dallas rivalry? Well, who’s to say that would be better than a Montréal-Québec rivalry? If you lived through the first incarnation of the Nordiques, you know what it’s about. You know that in the school yard you were either a Nordique or a Hab and that whoever won the night before had the bragging rights. You remember the debate about Côté’s goal splitting families during Christmas parties, you remember the Good Friday massacre and most of all, you remember that first round series in 1993. You remember the Nordiques taking a 2-0 lead and their fans thinking it was in the bag, only to see the Canadiens win the next four games on their way to a 24th cup. I lived in Lévis back then and I didn’t root for the Nordiques, I got into hockey when Patrick Roy started playing so I instantly became a Montreal Canadiens’ fan much to my father’s disappointment, but we still watched a lot of hockey together and those Montréal-Québec games were always special for us.

I know, the smart money is on the Coyotes being moved elsewhere in the States, but let me dream that there is still hope for the Québec Nordiques to return, I miss the rivalry, the hate, the fact that having two teams in the province pushed them both to be better…A girl can dream right?
Join the Discussion: » 740 Comments » Post New Comment
More from Karine Hains
» Four Former Habs Will Battle for the Cup
» Montembeault Backstops Canada to Gold
» In Hainsight: Beck Good to Go and Just “Shawt up”
» In Hainsight: A Very Late First Round Pick
» Habs Legend Brings LHJMQ Cup Back to Québec