On September 19, 2013 NBC Sports Pro Hockey Talk ran an article by Jason Brough entitled Under Pressure: Coyotes Fans. Here is the link: http://prohockeytalk.nbcsports.com/2013/09/19/under-pressure-coyotes-fans/ . In it he contends that it’s now up to Coyotes fans, “And you know what? Forget the out clause. Forget the possibility of relocation. What about just proving that Arizona can support an NHL team like other fan-bases? What about putting the days of half-empty arenas in the past? What about sticking it to all the people, fans and media alike, who’ve ridiculed the idea of a hockey team in the desert? Which is to say, everyone is watching, Coyotes fans. You got what you wanted. Now it’s your turn to prove the doubters wrong.”
He’s partially right. Now is the time for the “luke warmers,” those who sat on the sidelines waiting for the ownership situation to stabilize must regularly attend the games. The hard core fans, about 5,000 or 6,000, will be there no matter what but their committed attendance is simply not enough.
The real responsibility for proving that hockey belongs in the desert rests with the new owners. How well they market hockey in order to attract new fans is the test. Will their marketing efforts produce an additional 3,000 to 4,000 fans at each and every game? The numbers used may not be the correct ones but you get the idea.
There’s an even greater owner responsibility that will result in getting “butts in seats.” They must recreate an atmosphere – an aura – of team excitement and success. Remember the playoffs? The atmosphere was electric. You could feel it just walking into the building. It’s an intangible not easily defined or attained, for that matter, but that same feeling…electricity…aura…about our team, not just during the playoffs but day in and day out, is missing. The owners must find a way to tap into that sense of Coyote exceptionalism (where have we heard that word recently!) if they really want to succeed. The puck is not on the fans’ side of the ice. It’s on the owners’ side. Can they score?
©Joyce Clark, 2013
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