The Phoenix Coyotes are approaching a crossroads in the future of the franchise. For years, the media has speculated about the team, its owners, and the quality of its fan base. People have called for the Coyotes to move to Hamilton, Seattle, Quebec City, Toronto, Kansas City, and even back to Winnipeg to name a few. But coming up on July 9th, we’ll all get a better understanding of this team’s future in Phoenix, Arizona.
On that day, a few things will happen:
One, we’ll find out if the residents of the City of Glendale gathered enough signatures to force a referendum on the agreement made between Coyotes’ prospective owner Greg Jamison and Glendale. The wording of the deal irked the conservative watchdog group, the Goldwater Institute, and they wish to put the decision into the hands of the citizens if they want this agreement to take place.
And two, if enough signatures are raised, then long-time Coyotes captain Shane Doan will say “enough is enough” and head out into free agency. The man has been patient with a perpetually-bombarded Coyotes’ franchise, all the way back since the old Winnipeg Jets days. If enough signatures are collected, the team’s future in the Phoenix area would be hazier than ever before, and Shane would likely go someplace else with more security. And with others like Ray Whitney already bolting from the Desert State, Doan might be tempted to follow.
The Coyotes’ entire existence has been a struggle. Even with all-time greats like Jeremy Roenick and Wayne Gretzky attempting to put the Coyotes on the map, little has been achieved on the ice to excite a relatively small fan base. It wasn’t until last year when the Coyotes made it past the first round, and even though their success was substantial, they still had trouble filling their arena with Coyotes’ fans. The Blackhawks stormed in and swamped the arena with its own fans, and the Kings had similar success finding seats.
This possible refererdum could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back, the point where the NHL breaks and finally decides to restart the team someplace else. But other rumors have been uglier, there has been discussion of breaking up the team and dealing out the players to the rest of the league via draft. Although I doubt that will happen, considering there are more profitable options for the NHL to explore. However, the notion that they are preparing for the worst is reason enough for speculation.
According to some people, rumor has it that the required number of signatures (1600) has been acquired, and a referendum should be coming up. If that’s true, Coyote fans should buckle up.
They might lose both their captain and their entire team pretty soon.
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