May 15, 2012; Glendale, AZ, USA; Phoenix Coyotes defenseman Michal Rozsival (32) looks on during game two of the Western Conference finals of the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Jobing.com Arena. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-US PRESSWIRE

Poaching In The NHL

Catching up on the Phoenix Coyotes news earlier today, I had to laugh reading the SportsNet article that had a tweet from Councilmember Joyce Clark in which she said:

I will be so pleased when Coyotes issue is settled. Then all of these Canadian poachers can move on to another team and another city.

But has she forgotten that’s exactly how the city of Glendale ended up with an NHL team?  The Coyotes are not an expansion team, they are a relocation team from Winnipeg and after last summer and this season, the whole hockey community saw how much the city of Winnipeg wanted the NHL.  The relocation of Atlanta Thrashers to Winnipeg was quietly executed compared to what is going on with the Coyotes, but at the end of the day, if the Coyotes do leave, the pain will still be the same.

As the Calgary Flames are a relocation team, it stings to hear people accusing cities of poaching.  While I was not alive when the Flames moved from Atlanta to Calgary, I can’t exactly capture what that was like, I can safely say “poaching” is far from any cities mind when they gain a relocated team.  At the end of the day, a hockey team is business and if there is a better location for the business, the team is going to go there. You’re going to tell the Hurricanes were poached from Hartford?  Avalanche from Quebec?  Devils from Colorado?  I don’t think so.

And the NHL isn’t against souther hockey teams, think of how successful the California teams are, Dallas Stars still going, the resurgence of Florida teams, out of 9 or so teams in “southern” markets, two have failed.  That’s not exactly terrible.  I don’t think you can say the NHL is plotting against the south.  You gave it a shot, it didn’t work out.  Time to move on.

All of this talk of poaching and relocation is taking away from the phenomenal Coyotes season.  Before this season, the team had not advance past the first round of the playoffs and this season they made it all the way to the Western Conference Finals.  Coyotes nabbed the Division title for the first time too.

So much has happened this season for the Coyotes but Google them and nothing but relocation rumors come up for the first page.  Time to change this.  Relocate the team or start celebrating what they’ve done.

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