Name change coming for Coyotes?

Name change coming for Coyotes?

Published Jun. 10, 2012 8:51 p.m. ET

June 10, 2012

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, obviously.
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 fan-favorite 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. And don't worry: Once everything is official, Jamison and the Coyotes will probably be more than happy to arrange a team-shop tour of the new (and improved!) items.

-- Matt Swartz