Coyotes lease deal paves way for name change

Amid all the financial projections and political debates surrounding the

Coyotes’ new lease deal with Glendale, which was approved by the city

council on Friday to clear the way for the team’s sale, was a

little-noticed subsection of the agreement.

It reads

as follows (under the “Arena” section of the document that

can be viewed here): “(ii) The Team Owner shall use

commercially reasonable efforts to have the name of the Team changed to

the ‘Arizona Coyotes’ as soon as is commercially

feasible.”
 
That’s right: the Arizona

Coyotes.
 
A name change had been rumored for

some time — basically ever since the team moved from America West

Arena (now US Airways Center) in downtown Phoenix to Glendale in 2003 —

but had never been officially requested or acknowledged in the past.

That’s no longer the case.
 
Neither prospective owner Greg

Jamison nor any Glendale official has mentioned or commented on the

potential change, but based on the various subsections in the lease

related to advertising allowances for Glendale and a mandated effort to

include the word “Glendale” in the arena’s official name, it’s clear

that the city no longer wants the Coyotes to be associated primarily

with Phoenix. That seems fair since the city is footing the team’s

arena-operations bill of approximately $15 million a year.

 
There’s also some precedent: Jerry

Colangelo made it clear during the Diamondbacks’ infantile period that

he wanted the team to maintain a statewide association rather than a

Phoenix-specific one, and the team formerly known as the Phoenix

Cardinals changed its name to the Arizona Cardinals in 1994 in an effort

to grow its fan base statewide (although the team’s increased

attendance probably has had a lot more to do with University of Phoenix

Stadium and a run to the Super Bowl than a nominal

renaming).
 
The only question appears to be

exactly when the Coyotes’ change will be submitted/approved/implemented.

Given the timeline for finalizing the purchase — which could still be

delayed in court by the Goldwater Institute — before the

change can even be requested through the NHL, it seems likely that the

team taking the ice for training camp in September will be the familiar

Phoenix Coyotes.
 
After that, plan on

needing to update all those T-shirts and pompons and whatnot.