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A story about two desert teams: the Vegas Golden Knights and the Arizona Coyotes

A story about two desert teams: the Vegas Golden Knights and the Arizona Coyotes
A story about two desert teams: the Vegas Golden Knights and the Arizona Coyotes


The Vegas Golden Knights have built themselves as the modern model of consistency. They have won a Stanley Cup and played in the Stanley Cup Finals twice in their seven-year history. They have the best winning percentage in playoff history (.600) and have acquired the NHL's best players. That has led to an outpouring of support from Las Vegas, with the city embracing them as their first professional team from the four major leagues. Thanks, Bill Foley!

Compare that to the Arizona Coyotes, whose dreams of a new arena were shattered when the Arizona State Land Management canceled their land auction for June 27. Based in north Phoenix, the country would have given the now-defunct franchise the first step needed to re-enter the NHL.

It's one of many missteps by the former NHL team, which has had numerous problems running their operations. That included bankruptcy and violating their country's conflict of interest laws arena rental, and improperly scaling their zoned land. Hey, they can try to produce the next Matthew Tkachuk or Auston Matthews, right?

It's like hockey in the desert is a cursed project. There is no way an icy game can succeed in a dry temperature. At least, that's traditional ghosts wants you to believe. The success of the Vegas Golden Knights has blown these same minds. So what made the Golden Knights successful compared to the Arizona Coyotes? How come the Coyotes can't do anything right?

First off, they had the second highest crowd capacity in the NHL this regular season (103.6, behind only the Minnesota Wild). As a hugely successful team, you'll draw audiences wherever you go, whether it's Las Vegas or Boston. Win big hockey games and the fans will come in droves.

While Arizona can Say the same thing: They were in a 4,600-seat college hockey arena from 2022 to 2024. It's as if Manchester United were moved to a high school football stadium (or football, for all you Europeans) with seating for 800 people. It's easy to make such a statement when you're playing mediocre franchise in a tape box.

So what did Bill Foley and Vegas do? First, they got the arena right on the first try. They privately funded it and set it up on the Las Vegas Strip. Here it would also be the new de facto home for the UFC, with numerous pay-per-views coming to the venue. Even Foley went out of his way to say that tax money was better spent on public services and not on stadiums (hear that, John Fisher?).

What about the Arizona Coyotes, who moved from Winnipeg to a stadium with an obstructing view? They went to Glendale, where they violated conflict of interest laws and were kicked out. Then Alex Meruelo and company moved into the college hockey arena before selling the team and leaving the club leftovers. Building rapport starts with getting the arena in order. This way, the owner does not have to find a new home every ten years. Speaking of ownership…




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