Where can Phoenix go?
Hey guys, a good friend of mine had sent me a blog post that he thought would be a good discussion for The Checking Line. Victor creates some good argument points for why Phoenix can move into either Portland, Oregon or Seattle, Washington.
(Victor D’Alesio – Checking Line member and reader)
With all the fun and exciting news around the NHL this off-season, it is only fitting that someone projects where the Phoenix Coyotes will end up in the years to come. While most of the hockey world was busy following #jagrwatch (I was hoping it would be #strakawatch), I was thinking about where Phoenix should go. In doing a little bit of research, I came up with a couple of options that would be a great fit.
Since the Seattle Super-Sonics of the NBA left in 2008, Seattle has been dying for more sports; that is, successful sports. I say this because the Seahawks of the NFL have not been up to the competitive task as of recent years. The sports junkies of Seattle finally got their wish with the founding of the Seattle Sounders in 2007. This team of the MLS (that’s right, soccer is “successful” in America) has already set MLS records for attendance in its infancy. This just goes to show how desperate Seattle is for some kind of sports team, at this point they will take anything.
The Sounders were named so in 2008 by FAN voting, yes, desperate for competitive sports, FANS! Since the debut of the soccer club, they have sold out every league match and have set an MLS record for average fan attendance. They have also led the MLS in season ticket sales. The fans are as hardcore and rowdy as most hockey fans out there and include a 53-man marching band which cheers on the team at games. This could stir up a nice rivalry with Vancouver as well as the 3 teams in California.
With the potential sporting market available in Seattle, I think that the fan base would appreciate and accept an NHL team. To only have to compete with a miserable football team and an MLS soccer club (yes, that would actually be “competition”), this market is prime and ready for some new blood. Honestly, the fans in Seattle could treat a new sports team with more respect than some cities show their current NHL teams.
There is none…just kidding. The biggest threat to an NHL team in Oregon is NCAA Division 1 football, i.e. the Oregon Ducks and Oregon State Beavers. Also, the up and coming Portland Trailblazers of the NBA, who may be facing a lock-out next season, as well as the brand new Portland Timbers of the MLS. The Timbers have been able to draw in large crowds in their inaugural season, which goes to show the desperation of sports fans for any type of sports team.
With Portland struggling to find competitive professional sports, I can see the addition of an NHL team taking off with great fan support. Not only would this placement be a juicy, untapped market, but it would also pose a potential rivalry with the entire west coast!
Somewhere in Canada
Other NHL teams; but seriously, Canada can NOT get enough hockey.
Comments and constructive criticisms are greatly appreciated!
-Victor D’Alesio (ItlnStln17)
After reading this I would have to say that keeping Pheonix in the Pacific will not only help when in it comes to travel time and restructuring, it will also allow rivalries to be renewed. This area is not what many would consider a hockey hotbed, but thanks to NCAA football, rivalries within the area already exist. The Pac12 followers know these areas well and adding a professional team to the mix creates more animosity as well as another reason to watch your team on a regular basis. As some may know, nothing breeds a rivalry like hate and with a disdain for one another already, the North West cities of Portland and Seattle could help breed the hockey markets of the West.