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.