Tale of 2 Phoenix

Dallas Stars v Phoenix CoyotesIt can be weird sometimes but sometimes two things that seem so distant from each other are having a shared experience. This week two teams linked by little more than their names are enduring the same feeling. The Manchester Phoenix of the EPL and the Arizona Coyotes formally the Phoenix Coyotes of the NHL are in limbo regarding next season.

This week the city of Glendale where the Coyotes play revoked the lease that that team had on the arena, which is owned by the city, over an employment dispute. Effectively that made the Coyotes homeless.

The Manchester Phoenix on other head where made homeless in April following a dispute with rink owners Silver Blades. This week a fans forum offered few definitive answers as to the future.

Manchester Phoenix owner Neil Morris confirmed that the club will press ahead with plans to build an arena at Sportcity Eastlands.  That application is still going ahead but given it has taken 8 years for the plans for a permanent rink to fail to materialise it may take some time.

The solution for the Manchester Phoenix in the mean time seems to be to use both Deeside and Ice Sheffield in a throw back to their return to the ice in 2006 as a temporary home.

The solution in Arizona is less clear and whilst some have mooted it as final reason to move to say Quebec City where a new NHL standard arena is about ready to open. It is unlikely and whilst it would be great to see hockey a stones throw from the house that Beliveau built it would be very sad to lose a team that is getting its act together after some shaky years. The Coyotes are also unlikely to move far as they are majority owned by IceArizona.

That does limit options somewhat with the team unlikely to move beyond the Phoenix area. An option could be to take a note from the Manchester Phoenix book and look to the past with a move back to the American West Arena. Like their EPL counterparts though it is not ideal with the Arena a purpose built basketball venue with barely enough floor space for the ice rink.

What seems more likely is that there will be a legal battle and the courts could decide the matter and according to one lawyer more than likely in the Coyotes favour. As with the Manchester Phoenix and their dispute with Silverblades that solution is not good for anyone with their dirty laundry being aired in public and does not go well for a good relationship in the future.

I said in my last piece sport and politics don’t mix and this is more proof of that.

Neil Tucker

Neil has written on ice hockey for many websites concentrating on British ice hockey mostly. Neil also covers ice hockey in other countries and organises his Blueliner Hockey Tour. A graduate of the Manchester Metropolitan University Neil turned his hand to hockey writing in 2009. As well as contributing on Blueliner Hockey Neil has contributed to Get Real Hockey and Slapshot Magasine.

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