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May 5, 2012 | 11:26am ET
If you win, they will come
 The Coyotes would end up in Phoenix, and the team's winning ways will help secure butts in the seats.

NEW YORK, NY -- Like the mumbling, stumbling drunk spending Saturday night "On the Razzle," begging for the sun to hide its ugly face for just a few more hours, so they don't have to head home and recount the evening's events while they settle for little sleep; hockey fans pray that their favorite team's season could last just a little longer.

While a premature ending for most teams usually harbors in some small roster turnover, or a few more hours spent flipping through the scouting profiles of NHL Entry Draft hopefuls, an early exit could have spelled an end to hockey in Glendale, Arizona.

The never-ending saga of the Phoenix Coyotes has been a constant annoyance to any fan of the team. They have had well-documented attendance and ownership troubles, while struggling to put an elite product on the ice. They toiled in mediocrity, and sometimes downright awfulness. But incredible coaching, and organizational management over the past few years has the team riding the roller coaster to the top.

Most recently, a group lead by Greg Jamison, a former CEO of the San Jose Sharks, who still owns a minority share in the California Bay-Area team, have stepped up and appear to be aggressively pursuing a sale that could be done at any time according to the Phoenix Business Journal. If a sale goes through, it would likely include a clause that would keep the team in Glendale for the next 10 years.

"There's been progress made. We are optimistic that this can get done, but this is not a guarantee that this can get done," Jamison told The Arizona Public, before a Coyotes game a short while ago.

The biggest snag, however, has been working out a lease for the city-owned arena in which the Coyotes would play. A deal would have to be worked out financially that both sides could shake hands on.

This season, something just feels different in Phoenix. The renewed optimism seems likely due to the Coyotes enjoying their most successful season since the move.

"It's good to get a monkey of your back," Coyotes head coach Dave Tippett explained of the franchise's first playoff series win since 1987. "There have been a couple of situations, and it seems like no matter what happens, there's always somebody that has something derogatory to say about hockey in Arizona."

In sports, money drives everything, but often success and money can go hand in hand. By putting a better product out there, more people will be willing to pay for tickets, or buy jerseys. And if sales are up, then money is up, and teams like Phoenix get to stay put. So the biggest step in making sure the Coyotes stay in Glendale, is a long lucrative playoff run.

Coyotes captain and career-long member of the organization, Shane Doan knows what winning would mean for this franchise.

"It means a lot to the organization. It's the first step... That's a big one for us. I've never done it before, and been here long time. For the Phoenix Coyotes, that's good," Doan told the NHL Network after the team's win over Chicago to advance.

Creating a winning culture also helps a team's longevity. Phoenix has not exactly been known as a hot spot for top free agents. Especially with the threat of relocation, players seemed to shy away from the notion of moving their entire lives to an non-permanent home. Ilya Bryzgalov left for a rich contract, and what he likely believed was a better environment, and greater chance of winning a Stanley Cup.

One of the more public displays of spurning a franchise, was Kyle Turris, their highly regarded prospect holding out on signing a contract, and essentially forcing the hand of GM Don Maloney into trading the potential rising star. And while Phoenix advances, Turris will spend the rest of the playoffs watching on TV.

Turris, after being asked to compare the atmosphere in Ottawa to Phoenix after winning a playoff game for the Senators, replied with, "Is that a serious question?"

If Phoenix can make a run here, Arizona will become a much more desirable location for free agents, and prospects.

A few players, like Doan, have made a complete commitment to bringing a winning culture to the desert. Keith Yandle, All-Star defenseman inked a five-year deal prior to the start of the season, making it well known that he wanted be a Coyote.

He spoke to The Fourth Period prior to the start of the season and explicitly stated, "I want to be there to see the team turnaround and to stay in Phoenix. I want to be part of the group of guys that helps keep the team there because I know from experience that it's such a great place to live; and such a great place to be."

Aside from the enemy on the ice, the Coyotes have been facing stringent opposition from the conservative research group, The Goldwater Institute, who have fought tooth and nail against the city of Glendale giving Phoenix any sort of financial support. The group has often been at odds with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman.

It will definitely be interesting to keep an eye on the developments over the next few weeks as it appears a sale may be imminent. It seems Jamison wants Phoenix, and the NHL wants Jamison, who will keep the team in Arizona.

"I'm a firm believer in the product," he candidly explained to The Arizona Republic. "The one thing the Phoenix Coyotes need is an owner."

The only thing the players and organization can do now is go out and play. And a Stanley Cup winning franchise is a lot more desirable for a prospective buyer than a team sent packing before the calendar turns to June.

Patrick Kearns is a Columnist for TheFourthPeriod.com and the New York Correspondent for The Fourth Period Magazine.


 

 

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