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Joyce Clark Unfiltered

For "the rest of the story"

From a very happy Coyotes fan’s perspective

Posted by Joyce Clark on August 6, 2013
Posted in City of Glendale  | Tagged With: , , | 1 Comment

For My Coyotes Family

By Kimberly Radke

August 6, 2013 at 11:15 am, Facebook posting

4 Years, 3 months. That’s how long Coyotes fans have been waiting. Waiting and worrying and above all, hoping. Hoping that the team’s ownership issues would be resolved, hoping that the team would be staying in the desert. Yesterday, to the immense relief of those fans (and probably some our friends who are tired of hearing about it), the saga has ended; and indeed it has ended on high note. The last 4 years, 3 months have been filled with roller coaster moments, controversy and probably a few ulcers. However, even with all of the negativity that has surrounded this saga, it has brought about more than its share of positive moments as well. I know many that will look back on this time with a bitter taste in there mouth and carry with them only the bad memories. But, I think it’s important to recognize how many positives came out of this ordeal.

We learned that a few people with a passion, determination and drive can develop into a small army of people willing to go out and stand in 115 degree heat day in and day out to make sure voters were informed and aware of what they were signing. We learned that a city council member can make more of a difference than we ever knew possible. We learned about city politics, Political Action Committees, water bills and city council meetings. We’ve gained friendships and relationships with people whom we probably would have never crossed paths with otherwise. We saw our team not only make the playoffs3 years in a row, but make it to the Western Conference Final. We won the Pacific Division title for the first time. We gained a coach and a General Manager in Dave Tippet and Don Maloney who have had an unwavering belief in this team and its fans. We saw the reemergence of a leader in Shane Doan, who not only redefined what it is to be a team’s Captain, but exhibited the kind of loyalty not often seen in the professional sports world today. And all of this happened with no owner. And yet our fan base grew. Through all of this, we learned about “hockey the hard way”.

But, in my opinion, as sports fans, perhaps the most positive aspect to be taken from “The Coyotes Ownership Saga”, as it is often called, can be summed up in one word: Camaraderie. The camaraderie that has developed between this franchise, its players and its fans is unique and special. It’s something that those on the outside looking in have rarely, if ever, noticed. But it’s there and we are lucky for it. I think most fans of the sport would agree that hockey produces a different kind of professional athlete. Hockey players as a whole, more times than not, seem to be more down to earth, more accessible, more willing to sign an autograph, pose for a picture or even just have a conversation. However, this team has taken that to a new level. And it’s not just the players. It’s the announcers and reporters, the front office, our season ticket reps, our guest services personnel, our bloggers and everyone in between. We’ve all been through the ups and downs together. We have an understanding of the effects these trials (literally and figuratively) and tribulations have had. And the camaraderie that has developed as a result is amazing and special and unique. And that can never be taken away.

And now we get to celebrate. We get to celebrate IceArizona’s purchase of the team and get to look forward to years of hockey in the desert. But as we begin to move forward, and the team is now “Here To Stay”, and the new owners, GMDM, Tip and Doaner continue to work their magic and grow the fan base, let’s make sure we remember “Hockey the Hard Way”. Many people may never know the names Bea Wyatt and George Fallar, or realize the impact that they have had. Most people will never understand why cupcakes will always make a select few of us laugh, why we think the term “thug” is comical, why our stomachs turn when we drive by a library or what the heck the Order of the Tricky Clam is. And many people may never understand how a hockey team in the desert can have such a strong connection with its fans. And that’s ok, because we know.

Throughout this saga many of us have often said, “Being a hockey fan shouldn’t be like this.” But, the last 4 years, 3 months have truly shown us what it means to be a member of the Pack. And for that, I say we are lucky.

Thank you all….it has truly been an honor to get to know all of you.

Below is a verbatim transcript of the Bettman press conference. I prefer to personally hear what is being said about important issues and to make my own verbatim transcript for reference. I did this often when I was on city council and made verbatim transcripts of the former mayor’s remarks as well as staffers and other councilmembers.

It begins with the end of Commissioner Bettman’s opening remarks. I have only transcribed those portions of the press conference relevant to the Coyotes issue but I have inserted time markers for unrelated reporters’ questions. The video is posted on many sites. I pulled it from the Coyotes team website.


NHL Commissioner
Gary Bettman

Gary Bettman (GB): “Phoenix. No doubt we’ll get a question. Obviously, we’re getting to the point where some decisions are going to have to be made both by the City of Glendale and by us. I haven’t set a deadline but time is getting shorter. We’re looking forward to realignment for next season. We’re looking forward to the future. But as we look back on this season and take a deep breath before we look ahead to the Stanley Cup Final and then to next season, we find ourselves in a good, strong place. And we’re grateful to be there. And we’re grateful to be here with all of you. So, we’ll take your questions.”

4:55 Reporter question 1 (RQ 1):  What preparations for stormy weather in Chicago?

6:20 RQ 2: Why is Olympic process dragging on so long?

7:52 RQ 3: Question about realignment, names of conferences, etc.

RQ 4: “Bill, you mentioned that Phoenix somewhat impacts the schedule being released. Does that mean or suggest the team won’t be playing there next year?”


Deputy NHL Commissioner
Bill Daly

Bill Daly (BD): Yes. It’s certainly possible the team won’t play there next year. Look at the short strokes in Phoenix now. The ownership group we’ve negotiated a deal with has been negotiating with the City of Glendale. I think everybody knows kinda what’s on the table. I think the puck is pretty much in the City of Glendale’s end with respect to how they want to deal with that.”

RQ 5: “Just to go a little further on Phoenix. Time is short. How much time do you have left? Why not have a deadline at some point?”

GB: “No reason to. It’s been a complicated process. In our minds understand that we’re dealing with a time frame. But a specific day isn’t going to do it but time is getting short and as Bill said, this is really going to be a decision that the City of Glendale is going to have to make.”

9:27 RQ 6: Stanley Cup questions

RQ 7: “Bill or Gary, I’m sure you have a Plan B or even a Plan C for Phoenix. But if they’re not playing in Phoenix next year will Quebec City, might be a Plan B or Plan C for the league?”

GB: We’re still focused on making it work with the Coyotes staying in Arizona. I don’t wanna begin a process, particularly publicly, with, where there’s gonna be a lot of speculation where the team might go, if it moved because all that would do would be to unfairly raise expectation in places and I don’t want to do that to fans in these communities. So we’re just going to leave it that we’re still focused on the Coyotes in Arizona.”

10:52 RQ 8: how were revenue earnings in a shortened season?

11:21 RQ 9: officiating during the play offs

13:38 RQ 10: Original 6 final game?

14:42 RQ 11: despite loss of 42% of season is NHL impenetrable?

16:53 RQ 12: low scoring in playoff games

RQ 13: “Does the Phoenix issue affect realignment at all especially if they have to move somewhere?”

GB: “Since one’s hope is that they’re going to stay where they are it shouldn’t and if the team is forced to relocate then we’ll have a look at it and make a decision as to whether or not it is impacted.”

18:19 RQ 14: concessions

19:51 RQ 15: after lockout will there be better revenues in the future?

RQ 16: “Two questions on Phoenix that perhaps Bill could answer. If we understand that you’ve got an ownership in place who will only take control of the team once the city council of Glendale strikes a deal, it seems that we’re working off a timeline that is controlled by the city council of Glendale. Is that correct?”

GB: “No. I’ll answer the question. The answer is no. At some point we’re going to have to make a decision.”

BD: “In other words, delay could be a no decision. Or no decision could be a decision in this case. So they understand. There’s no misunderstanding with respect to when our time table is vis a vis the city of Glendale. They know what our decision time line is and what are the decisions we have to make. There’s no misunderstanding on the parties.”

RQ 17: “You’ve spoken of keeping the team there and relocation. Does a third option of having the franchise in hiatus exist?”

GB: “There are a myriad of options and we’re not prepared to engage in speculation as to what the optionality (sic) is. The focus, at least for the time being, remains on having the Coyotes in Arizona. Obviously, we’ll have lots of choices, options and decisions and at the time, if we get to that point, and hopefully we won’t, then we’ll focus on which one is the best.”

21:40 RQ 18:  has a series with two of original 6 teams been achieved?

22:44 RQ 19: results of investigation into deaths of 2 NHL players

RQ 20: “Do you need a decision on Phoenix by the Board of Governors’ meeting on June 27th?”

GB: “Maybe. Are you trying to get me to set a deadline?”

RQ 21: “I’m just curious.”

GB: Listen. There’s a Board of Governors meeting on the 27th. There’s a city council meeting on June 28th.”

BD: “June 25th.”

GB: “I’m sorry. June 25th. Stuff’s gonna happen.”

24:10 RQ 22: world cup hockey

RQ 23: “Gary, question #15 on the Coyotes, if I may. You mentioned that you don’t want to make expectations in other places. Are there that many markets out there available that you could turn around and go to?”

GB: “There are a number of markets that have been expressing an interest to us over the years and the phone keeps ringing more regularly the longer that the Coyotes situation stays unresolved and based on the dates we just happened to talk about with the previous question, it’s causing the phone to ring even more.”

26:01 RQ 24: will acrimony of lockout be present and will GB present Stanley Cup?

26:28 RQ 25: will players participate in future world championship?

RQ 26: “If the phone is ringing about interest from other markets why is Phoenix still the best option for the NHL and can the franchise not just survive but thrive with new ownership?”


Mike Nealy


Don Maloney

GB: “That’s a great question. So let me answer it in two parts. The first is, we try to avoid franchise relocation. We try to do everything possible. We don’t think it’s fair to fans and we don’t think it’s fair unless you have to move, to do it to communities that build you buildings. And so we’re not going to get involved in a bake-off where we’re gonna say, you know, we’d rather be here than there. We’re gonna try to preserve what’s in place. That’s what we’ve always done even when it’s resulted previously in franchise relocation. That only happens when we’ve exhausted all possibilities. We’ve now operated this club for about three years indirectly. We’ve had ownership of it. We’ve had great support by the people on the ground doing there. Mike Nealy and Donny Maloney in particular, have done a particularly strong job. We actually believe that if you gave the community an owner, not the league, who said, I’m committed to being here, this franchise could actively be successful from a business standpoint. We’ve seen what the fan base will do with all the uncertainty. We understand the dynamics from the business community and the broadcasters and the media and the people who buy suites and naming rights and all that stuff. If there was certainty surrounding this franchise its fortunes would improve dramatically and immediately just by virtue of putting in a real owner.”

BD: “No matter how this plays out I don’t think anybody can accuse us of a kind of grass is greener type approach to this. We’ve been committed to this market. We’ve done everything humanly possible to make this franchise work in this market. And now’s the time we’re gonna find out if that works.”

Glendale City Council

Glendale City Council

GB: “And again, when the obligation that we take so seriously, it starts with the fans and the community but for those of you who have been to the arena in Glendale, you know, I worry about what’s gonna happen to the arena if the team isn’t there. I think it’s likely to get boarded up because they’re not gonna have enough events to sustain it. I worry about what happens to Westgate and all the businesses and people who are employed there. I worry about the impact it may have on the football stadium, having a situation on its front steps that may not be ideal anymore and so we’re taking, we’ve taken all of those things into account over the last three years as we’ve tried to make it work. That’s why ultimately it’s up to the City of Glendale to make the decision that they think is in the best interest of their constituents and whatever they decide, we’ll abide by but ultimately whether or not this team stays at this point is their call.”



Glendale City Council

Glendale City Council

Today, June 4, 2013 Glendale council will conduct a workshop meeting. Here is the link to the agenda:  http://www.glendaleaz.com/Clerk/agendasandminutes/Workshops/Agendas/060413.pdf

Workshops are not like regular evening meetings. They are intended as a means of staff bringing forward subjects they believe are important or staff is responding to a councilmember’s request for further study on a subject. Unlike night meetings there is no opportunity for public comment.

The public agenda is short. There are only two items: an update on Glendale’s airport and council selection of its members for the two standing subcommittees, Government Services and Sustainability as well as selection of Vice Mayor. The airport issue is one that Councilmember Sherwood brought forward. For years the airport has been vexing as it has never reached its full development potential. That is a topic for another posting. We could see some interesting dynamics play out in the self selection of councilmembers to serve on the two standing subcommittees.

The more troubling aspect of the agenda is the Executive Session agenda. Executive Sessions are designed to allow council and staff to discuss, in a non-public setting, contracts, personnel and property leases/purchases. Its interpretation is often overly broad by a city’s legal department. There are 8 items on the Executive Session agenda. It is 4 times as long as the open session! Some of topics placed on the Esession agenda are questionable and were not decided in favor of the public.

One of the topics is the city’s external audit requested by this council. There have been several Esessions that included a secret discussion of this item. One would think that since this has been visited in Esession several times previously that a public update would be provided. Tsk…tsk, council. So much for transparency.

Another item that was previously discussed in workshop is the Cardinals training camp proposal. See this link to get more information from council’s March 5, 2013 workshop:  http://www.glendaleaz.com/Clerk/agendasandminutes/Workshops/Agendas/030513.pdf . The original proposal wasn’t so hot for the city. Since it was discussed in open session previously it probably would have been a good idea to bring this item forward publicly once again. So much for transparency.

jobing.com arena

Jobing.com arena

There are two more items that certainly deserve public scrutiny. Both relate to Jobing.com arena and the Coyotes ownership. The drop dead date for submissions to Beacon Sports, the city’s consultant, for arena management was May 31, 2013. Of course, at city discretion, it can accept bids after that date because of the disclaimer clause in the RFP. One Esession item deals with “potential agreements related to the management of the arena” and the other Esession item is to provide “instruction in connection with potential agreements related to the Hockey Team…”

Yet Mike Sunnicks in his story of June 3, 2013 in the Phoenix Business Journal quoting Glendale spokesperson Julie Watters, says, “Initial responses to the RFP have been received by Beacon Sports. The submissions are currently being reviewed by Beacon to determine completeness and if they qualify for further consideration,” Watters said. “We will follow up tomorrow (Tuesday) with Beacon to determine the status.” Sunnicks provides the reader with a rehash of old information — nothing new. This is the link to his story: http://www.bizjournals.com/phoenix/morning_call/2013/06/glendale-awaits-qualified-bids-for.html?ana=twt

Yet this is one of the secret items to be discussed by council at its workshop today (Tuesday). Methinks the council has been given a report by Beacon with those who have made bids (to date) to manage the arena. How else could council discuss this very topic?  So much for transparency.

Cardinals training camp proposal…external audit…management of city owned arena…the hockey team’s very survival in Glendale…all topics of extreme interest to the people of Glendale. Yet the only discussion to be had will be secret. So much for transparency.


A bittersweet season

Posted by Joyce Clark on April 28, 2013
Posted in City of Glendale  | Tagged With: , , , | 3 Comments

Coyotes logoLast night I watched the last Coyotes game of this season on television. The team ended on a high note by beating the Anaheim Ducks. I am an unabashed “newbie” to Coyotes hockey. Although they had been playing in Glendale since 2003 I was consumed with my duties as a Councilmember. I barely knew they existed despite season after season of games played in our city-owned arena.

Then disaster struck in 2009 with the Moyes’ bankruptcy. Suddenly I was reading countless Memoranda of Understanding, meeting potential owners, and rereading old as well as newly drafted arena management agreements. Council meetings lasted long into the night as each potential owner was brought forward and Coyotes fans and opposition contingents spoke before packed Council Chambers. All failed. Still, even with my sudden immersion, I was not a fan—until April and May of 2012—playoff season. As a councilmember I had the opportunity to attend those games and to meet the players, the coaches and the support staff.

All of a sudden I became a fan. One could not help but become one. I met young men filled with passion and pride for their sport. I’ve met football players, basketball players and baseball players and none meet the standard of grace and dignity that I saw in these men – these hockey players. (I will add one disclaimer. Larry Fitzgerald also epitomizes that same grace and dignity. Someday I will do a blog on pro athletes and their lack of respect for the very fans responsible for their status.) This Coyotes team showed me that they respect their sport and that their fans are an important part of the game. From Shane Doan taking time after a game to visit with fans, especially the youngest of them to Paul Bissonnette sponsoring a group of underprivileged kids to a game. I talked to Don Maloney and Dave Tippett, both highly skilled professionals and outstanding ambassadors of their sport. I talked to members of the support staff who come to work because they love their jobs and assisting these men in their quest for excellence. I got to know Mike Nealy and Jim Voss, who despite ownership uncertainty have incredibly increased the fan base and game attendance. I respect what they have been able to achieve.

Now it became important to me to insure that the Coyotes stayed where I believed they belonged. They are an asset to this community and can contribute to making a difference in the lives of many. I felt sure we were about to welcome Greg Jamison as the new team owner. The man impressed me not just with his business acumen but with his passion for the sport. Trust me; I have learned that it is an unusual combination. It was not to be and I left my office this past January with ownership still in turmoil feeling frustrated and angry that there was no resolution.

I do not know who the NHL will choose as the new owner but it discomfits me that the decision will be based on what I believe will be exclusively dollars and cents. There should be extra points awarded for intangible qualities that rise above the “bottom line.” Instead I see some potential owners-not all-who consider buying the team wholly as an investment opportunity.  They and their investors expect a substantial return on their investment. I have not seen their passion for the sport.

It is akin to a great chef or artist. They don’t become great because of their skill in the use of fundamentals. Thousands of people learn the fundamentals and never rise to greatness. Those that do become great do so because their passion for what they do causes them to transfer that passion to us in a tangible fashion that we can understand and appreciate. That is what a new team owner must also do – transfer that passion to us in a tangible fashion causing us to be as excited about the team and its future as we, once upon a time, had been. The promise is there, just below the surface, awaiting an owner who believes as we have always believed. It is awaiting an owner who can successfully transfer his passion and belief in the team’s greatness to us. Perhaps I am being Don Quixote-ish. Perhaps I am hoping for a miracle but miracles do happen.

We end this bittersweet season in limbo, not knowing if that was indeed the last game here for the Coyotes. I read the unspoken and unanswered question in recent expressions of fan appreciation for a season, too short, just passed. I read their bravado expressed in the belief that the Coyotes will return next season but underneath it all was a current of wistful uncertainty. I saw and heard it in the faces of and in the voices of Tyson Nash, Todd Walsh and Matthew McConnell, at the end of the last televised game. Not daring to talk about ownership. Not daring to wonder if the team would be playing here in October and acting as if this would be just the end of a regular season and not the end of our Coyotes.

Believe ringIt is as if everyone with a commitment to this team has suffered death by a thousand paper cuts and yet, all have remained resilient and survived. It has survived because of the indomitable spirit of the players, coaches and staff who daily rose above the uncertainty. It has survived because WE BELIEVE… that the Coyotes will stay here…in the desert.