The Phoenix Coyotes season is over after a 6-3 loss to the Detroit Red Wings in game four of the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs last night. It very well could be the last hockey game played in Glendale, as the team could potentially be whisked away to Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.
Following the loss, Aretha Franklin's "Respect" was played in Jobing.com Arena as the team remained on the ice to salute the "fans." Throughout the arena, the words "Thank You Fans" were displayed on large screens across the perimeter of the upper deck.
The Coyotes played well last night -- two flukey goals and an empty-netter are what sealed their fate in front of an almost-capacity crowd.
But where were all those "fans" when the team wasn't in the playoffs and potentially on its way out of town?
Hockey's an awesome sport. It's fast-paced, they fight, and it would be a shame to lose the team. Not to mention, the players -- team captain Shane Doan, in particular -- have busted their asses to put butts in the seats.
But hockey hasn't caught on in the Valley (the team playing in Glendale -- as opposed to a more-centrally located venue -- certainly hasn't helped things). A lot of desert dwellers claim to be "fans," but the team's attendance record tells a different story.
This season, the Coyotes had the second-worst attendance in the league. Last season, their attendance was the worst in the entire NHL -- and that's in the fourth-largest county in the country.
The Coyotes probably are headed to Canada, which is a shame for actual Valley hockey fans, the city of Glendale, and the NHL, which desperately wants to make a hockey team work in the desert.
The problem, however, is the very "fans" the team saluted following last night's game. They don't want to show up for games (unless the team's in the playoffs), which makes keeping
a team in the desert -- with a tiny base of actual fans -- pretty tough.
We understand that politically they have to do it, but we want to know what you think: should the Phoenix Coyotes really be thanking the very fans who have done very little (make the drive to Glendale and buy a ticket) to help keep them in the Valley?
Cast your vote below.