The Arizona Coyotes have spent the past few years dealing with what are probably best described as “shrinking pains” resulting from the fact that it’s hard to cultivate a dedicated fanbase in an already ambivalent market when you’re a franchise that’s routinely trotted out one of the worst rosters in the NHL and appeared in the playoffs a single time over the course of the previous decade.
Those issues really started to snowball last year when the Coyotes scrambled to avoid being locked out of their own arena, a saga that ultimately led to them finding a new home in the form of the 5,000-seat multipurpose venue located on the Arizona State University’s campus.
Over the summer, the team caught some heat for the fairly steep ticket prices fans will have to pay to attend a game at Mullett Arena (the Winnipeg Jets, who previously had the smallest barn in the league, can still hold more than 10,000 more fans per game at Canada Life Centre).
With that said, there may be something to be said for the unique nature of such a tiny building (the franchise said it’s already outpacing the season ticket revenue it generated during last year’s campaign). As a result, spectators may appreciate the atmosphere it has the potential to foster, but it would appear some of the players who will call it home this season aren’t exactly thrilled with what they’ve seen so far.
An NHL insider says multiple members of the Arizona Coyotes have taken issue with the conditions at Mullett Arena
On Monday’s installment of the Real Kyper & Bourne podcast, Nick Kypreos spilled a bit of tea concerning some rumors he’s heard out of Tempe around the 12:30 mark, saying:
“There are some real rumblings about the boys not being very happy down there. Like, really upsetting. Even worse [than expected].
Maybe we’ll make a few phone calls and get the skinny on that.”
While he didn’t address the specific issues, the building wasn’t constructed with the Coyotes in mind (although around $20 million was spent on “improvements and additional team areas” after they signed the deal with ASU). As a result, you have to assume guys who’ve played at Gila River Arena or have simply visited other rinks that were constructed with an NHL team in mind feel their current accommodations leave plenty to be desired.
It’s hard to imagine we won’t get some more details once the Coyotes—who a hockey analyst for The Athletic said have a roster consisting of the “worst collection of talent my model has ever seen”—kick off their season.
— dom (@domluszczyszyn) September 19, 2022
I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.