After weeks of debate, after weeks of an intense marketing campaign and plenty of talk about how much Canada "deserved" another hockey team, an Arizona judge has dismissed Jim Balsillie's bid to purchase the Phoenix Coyotes. The billionaire's proposal was to purchase the Coyotes franchise and move it to Hamilton, Ontario, a town near Toronto. The supporters of this move claimed that Phoenix, a "non-traditional hockey market" that was struggling to support the team financially, didn't deserve a hockey team as much as the Canadians do.
I haven't posted my thoughts on this topic during this whole process, although I was interviewed by several website and news agencies. They were interested in my opinion on why the Dallas Stars, supposedly situated in the middle of a "non-traditional" hockey market, have succeeded so well (the Stars are in the top five in the NHL in generating revenue), while others have not.
Simply, it comes down to winning. If the franchise is successful on the ice, then the fans will come. That's even more important in the southern towns where hockey hasn't existed for a 40 years. San Jose, Anaheim, Dallas....all have very successful franchises on the ice and are doing well financially. The Coyotes started off on the right foot, had an extremely dedicated fanbase but haven't enjoyed much success lately. That hurts.
However, it's good to know that they are staying in Phoenix. As someone who grew up in Texas and came to love and play hockey there, I think it's important to support the game in as many places we can. Hopefully the Coyotes can rebound from this, get some things straightened out inside their organization and become successful once more.
For more on this story, be sure to visit SB Nation's Coyotes blog, Five For Howling.