Kiss the Phoenix Coyotes good-bye

Today the Phoenix Coyotes announced that beginning next season, they would no longer be the Phoenix Coyotes. In fact they will be now known as the Arizona Cardinals Coyotes.

Phoenix Coyotes Co-Owner, President and CEO Anthony LeBlanc stated “Becoming the Arizona Coyotes makes sense for us since we play our games in Glendale and the city is such a great partner of ours. We also want to be recognized as not just the hockey team for Glendale or Phoenix, but the team for the entire state of Arizona and the Southwest. We hope that the name ‘Arizona’ will encourage more fans from all over the state, not just the valley, to embrace and support our team.”

On one hand, I guess this makes sense. It gives the club a chance at new merchandise sales – barely since the jersey isn’t changing with the exception of a new shoulder patch for their home and road jerseys. Oh, and that will be unveiled at their first preseason game next season. So fans will be able to get it pretty much once the season starts.

This aligns the naming of sports teams in the area. When we visited Arizona for the start of the 2011-12 season we were impressed at how far out of Phoenix the arena was and how closely it was located to where the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals play. Being in such close proximity I guess adds to the clarity that the fan is located in Arizona and not in Phoenix.

Arizona will be the name for three of the four professional sports teams – Arizona Cardinals (NFL), Arizona Diamondbacks (MLB) and Arizona Coyotes (NHL). The lone holdout will be the Phoenix Suns (NBA). In the Suns defence, they play in Phoenix, in fact where the Coyotes used to play. But the Diamondbacks also play in Phoenix, but are still using the Arizona name and not the Phoenix name.

As a Winnipeg Jets fan myself, I know this is no longer my franchise to deal with, even though it was close to becoming ours again. But as a bit of a nostalgic guy I think this is the wrong thing to do for the Coyotes franchise, especially considering the length of time they’ve been working on educating the state that there’s indeed a hockey team in the desert.

I guess with the team rebranding, Tuscon can put away any hope of luring a professional team.

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Marshall Stevenson regularly contributes to one of the best Winnipeg Jets blogs as an editor and co-founder while also working on JET FUEL – a documentary about Winnipeg Jets fans. Of course he's also behind the only official, unofficial Jets fan gear site. And as if he wasn't busy enough, a co-host on the popular Winnipeg Jets focused Jets Hockey Podcast.