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SportA new arena is important, but Arizona Coyotes have prioritized winning

01:25  11 july  2019
01:25  11 july  2019 Source:   azcentral.com

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TORONTO -- A new home for the Arizona Coyotes in Tempe, Arizona , will be a game-changer for the franchise, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said Monday. The Coyotes have played in Gila River Arena in Glendale, Arizona , since December 2003. Prior to that , they played at America West Arena

The Arizona Coyotes are a professional ice hockey team based in the Phoenix suburb of Glendale, Arizona . They are members of the Pacific Division of the Western Conference of the National Hockey

If the Coyotes were to listen to the people yelling around them, nothing would change for a franchise doing all it can to find sustainable footing in Arizona.

Armchair owners undoubtedly feel the Coyotes must prioritize a new arena above all else in order to succeed in the Valley. The reality, however, is far more complex and requires that the Coyotes prioritize something far more important — winning.

This is what the Coyotes have done in the form of an offseason agenda punctuated by the acquisition of Phil Kessel, one of the NHL's most consistent goal-scorers over the last decade.

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IceArizona Holdings, the company that owns the NHL's Coyotes , is entering into a negotiating agreement with Catellus Development Corporation to create a development plan for approximately 58 acres in the ASU district. Wochit.

Gila River Arena (originally Glendale Arena and formerly Jobing.com Arena ) is a sports and entertainment arena in Glendale, Arizona .

For a Coyotes team that finished just two points out of a playoff spot last season, the Kessel acquisition is the biggest in a slew of messages to fans that the Coyotes are ready to contend.

And the fans have responded.

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According to statistics obtained by The Republic, the Coyotes' ticket sales have skyrocketed since the team traded for Kessel on June 29.

Season-ticket sales are up 600% compared to the same week last summer, including a 550% increase in all ticket sales. The Coyotes have also seen an increase in their website traffic mobile app visits and social media engagement over that time.

"It's certainly satisfying and exciting to see us doing something as a franchise that we feel makes us a much more competitive team and puts us in a better position to win," Coyotes President and CEO Ahron Cohen said. "The fact that other people in this market are seeing that, fans are seeing that, and they're jumping on board. It's good, positive momentum for this organization."

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The Coyotes ’ willingness to invest 0 million in a new arena demonstrates their commitment to being an important economic driver in Arizona . The legislation calls for the reinvestment of a portion of state tax revenues on the site. Just as important is what the legislation does not do: no state tax

Arizona Coyotes said Monday they would pay half of a new 0-million hockey arena in Tempe; taxpayers would pay rest. The proposed deal would make the Coyotes one of the first tenants in Arizona State University's Athletic Facilities District, but it would need approval from lawmakers when

The Coyotes are not oblivious to the reality of their arena situation. They understand the need for a long-term solution in Arizona, and have been active in their search for one. The impending arrival of new majority owner Alex Meruelo will undoubtedly be instrumental in that regard.

But they have evidently prioritized winning just as much. The Coyotes don't seem to be leaning on the premise of, "If you build it, they will come."

Rather, the team hopes, they will come if you win — a philosophy evidenced by their 94% renewal in season tickets this summer, the club's highest such mark since moving to Glendale in 2003-04.

"Some of the challenges that we've experienced in terms of location have been well-documented," Cohen said. "We could be playing in Yuma or in mid-town Manhattan, but if we're not doing things to put a successful and competitive team on the ice, then we're going to have limitations on how successful we can be."

Kessel trade has Coyotes fans excited for new direction

Kessel trade has Coyotes fans excited for new direction The Arizona Coyotes made one of their biggest acquisitions in franchise history last week when they landed three-time All-Star Phil Kessel in a trade with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Arizona hasn't finished higher than 28th in average attendance since the 2006-07 season, but that could change this upcoming campaign. "The buzz has been pretty significant," Coyotes president and CEO Ahron Cohen said, according to The Arizona Republic's Richard Morin. "A lot of interest on social media, text messages from people in the community reaching out. There is an excitement and rejuvenation with this franchise. People can see the trajectory we're on.

Arizona Coyotes forward Shane Doan reacts to a shot against the Toronto Maple Leafs during the first period at Gila River Arena in Glendale December Shane Doan leads the organization as they begin their first season at a new arena in Glendale in 2003. Cori Takemoto Williams/The Arizona Republic.

The Arizona Coyotes arena dispute with Glendale will be a battle over millions of dollars and could upset the balance of the NHL. That leaves Quebec City. It has a beautiful new building and a hockey-mad populace, making for the most appealing option. But it’s also located in the Eastern time

The Coyotes feel they've reached a compromise with their "Weekender" season-ticket package that grants the purchaser access to each of the team's Friday, Saturday and Sunday home games.

Those packages, which launched prior to last season, have seen a 184% increase in year-over-year growth with still more than two months left in the offseason. It has provided some relief for those exhaustive rush-hour drives to Glendale on weekdays.

"The challenges of coming to our arena during weekdays with traffic from the East Valley and Central Phoenix have been well-documented," Cohen said. "This was a deliberate attempt by us to reach out to people that previously had been restrained from participating with us in a significant fashion because of some logistical challenges.

"What we've done with these packages is removed the traffic concerns of getting here during rush our and said, 'That's fine, come to all our weekend games.'"

In many ways, the package underscores the big picture for the Coyotes. Not only do the Coyotes feel it can bring more people to the games, but since each purchaser of the package receives a complimentary street hockey set it can appeal to families and help foster hockey culture in Arizona.

Family affair: Mario Kempe joins his brother by signing with Kings

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The Arizona Coyotes could receive 5 million in public funding for a new 5 million arena in downtown Phoenix or the East Valley. Three Phoenix-area professional sports teams — the Arizona Diamondbacks, Arizona Coyotes and Phoenix Suns — have made noise recently about getting new

The Arizona Coyotes and NHL commissioner threatened to move the team out of Arizona if lawmakers don't provide public funding for new arena in NHL and Coyotes tell Arizona : Give us a new arena or we will leave. Craig Harris, The Republic | azcentral.com Published 7:28 p.m. MT March

"We can never go to bed at night satisfied because there's always more and more we can do to make this a great franchise," Cohen said. "All we can do right now is continue to build upon our core goals and kind of drown out the outside noise."

Richard Morin covers the Coyotes and Diamondbacks for azcentral sports. He can be reached at rmorin@arizonarepublic.com. Follow him on Twitter @ramorin_azc. Subscribe to azcentral today.

Photos: Arizona Coyotes development camp

This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: A new arena is important, but Arizona Coyotes have prioritized winning

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