Arizona will play at least the next three season at Mullett Arena but while the college hockey rink has been the butt of jokes amongst NHL fans, the Coyotes loyal following don't deserve to be tarnished with the same brush.
AVRY LEWIS-MCDOUGALL: And I'm going to choose to embrace it because hey, in Arizona, there is a fun market that loves this team. And people have those jokes that they say, oh, look, they can't fill a barn. There's no one there to fill the barn. Come on. Come on. It's a tired old trope that's been proven false.
They're a dedicated fan base down there. Hockey has been-- hockey has been in Arizona literally for 50 years at different levels of the sport. So don't feed me that kind of garbage, there's no fan base down there to watch hockey. But I like it, though. Of course, not ideal. But hey, they're making the most of it. And hopefully it only lasts for three years.
JULIAN MCKENZIE: Wow.
SAM CHANG: Yeah, I think if you want to-- if you want to roast Gary Bettman, if you want to roast Coyotes ownership, past and present, go for it. I think there's a ton of reason to do that. But I think taking shots at fans who have put up with a less than desirable situation in terms of their team and continue to show up for games in a market where I think the last I checked Arizona is the number one youth hockey city in the States the last few years, fastest growing at least.
A state that's produced arguably best or second best player in the NHL right now. It's a pretty tough sell to say there is no fans there, there is no market there. For people to actually put up with a team that has not performed well, has faced a ton of ownership issues, and still continue to turn out, I'd say they're pretty dedicated fans.
ARUN SRINIVASAN: Yeah, no, I'm sort of stuck between Sam and Avry's points. I think too clearly this is not an indictment of the fans, but maybe I'm just in a miserable mood today. But like, I don't find this Coyote's whole thing that charming. I think too, like, I was just weary of buying like NHL's talking points and the Coyotes' talking points, and just like being a stenographer rather than a journalist about it.
I mean, honestly, like, look at the calculated fun we're having. Yeah, we're all singing Blink-182 and it's not a drastic failure of the Coyotes ownership that they're filling a college arena. Look at the college kids having fun.
Like, we knew that. Arizona State has a pretty good NCAA program. We all know this. I just think like, I don't know. I mean, it's an embarrassment for the NHL and the Coyotes to be forced into this arena situation to begin with. And the idea that we're now seeing it come to fruition, there's been all these sort of force-fed talking points. Like, look, you're going to get this forced collegial atmosphere.
So again, I'm not taking a shot at the fans. The fans are great and they do actually have a genuine college hockey fan base out there. So it's not the fans, but all these sort of spoon-fed talking points about, wow, this is going to be really fun, wow, it's going to create this new environment. It's total BS, man, total BS.
SAM CHANG: I think the fans deserve better.
ARUN SRINIVASAN: The fans deserve a better team and a better ownership group, for sure. But in terms of like celebrating this, like, wow, look at this cool thing. Also the Mueller family donated to a transphobic Wisconsin gubernatorial candidate. It takes two seconds of information. Two seconds. I didn't do a Freedom of Information request. I did a Google search, bro.
Like, it takes two seconds to not make the stupid Mueller jokes knowing that the Mueller family has a long, rich history of contributing to Republican candidates who support abortion bans and all types of other horrible policies. So anyway, that's my sort of grumpy thoughts on the whole Coyote's experiment. But I'm just not seeing the fun and buying into any of it.