The past few years have been a long, strange trip for the Arizona Coyotes, who were forced to kick off the start of the season with a long six-game road trip because the needs of Arizona State University’s hockey team took precedence over the NHL franchise the Sun Devils are now sharing a 5,000-seat venue with.
If you haven’t been following the saga that’s unfolded over the past year, the ‘Yotes were forced to relocate from what was formerly known as Gila River Arena after almost getting evicted in the middle of last season due to the myriad of issues the struggling team has been juggling for over a decade.
However, ASU was kind enough to offer the team respite inside Mullett Arena, which is far and away the tiniest venue any member of North America’s Big Four sports leagues call home.
There are reports some players have been less than thrilled with the accommodations (which is pretty understandable when you take a look at the current locker room), and while plenty of people have labeled the setup an embarrassment for the entire NHL, others seem to think the uniquely cozy nature of the barn has the potential to foster a pretty cool atmosphere.
We’ll get the chance to find out if that is indeed the case when the Coyotes finally play their first home game inside the new building on Friday night when they host the Jets (who will be the first NHL team to experience the, um, unconventional nature of the visiting locker room that will be used until a slightly fancier annex completes construction).
— Andy Mailly-Pressoir (@AndympTVAS) October 27, 2022
The Coyotes also opted to celebrate their inaugural game at Mullett Arena with a giveaway that couldn’t be more on-brand: mullet wigs for fans
Arizona has done everything in its power to make the best of an unenviable situation, and it appears the fans who’ve stuck with the team despite the lackluster product it’s routinely trotted out onto the ice are intrigued by what’s in store based on the rate at which the franchise has been able to offload season tickets.
The tiny nature of Mullett Arena (which was named after a family of major ASU donors) means you’ll have to pay a bit of a premium if you want to watch a single game there, but anyone who decided to pull the trigger for the home opener will get to walk away with an incredibly on-brand keepsake in the form of the mullet wigs that will be given to every fan on Friday night.
Ready to rock the Mullett. 🤘
— Arizona Coyotes (@ArizonaCoyotes) October 28, 2022