As part of an agreement between Glendale and the new Coyotes ownership group, the team will change its name from Phoenix to Arizona next season to appeal to a broader fan base. A new shoulder patch will be revealed, but otherwise, the jersey will stay the same.
As of next season, the Phoenix Coyotes will be no more. OK, so they’re not moving to Canada or the Pacific Northwest or even out of Glendale. But starting in 2014-15, the Coyotes will be known as the Arizona Coyotes. This was part of a deal struck by the new ownership group with Glendale when it purchased the team last summer. Today, it was made official. Here is president and CEO Anthony LeBlanc in a press release:
“We are very excited to announce that our franchise name will change to Arizona Coyotes for the start of the 2014-15 NHL season. Becoming the Arizona Coyotes makes sense for us since we play our games in Glendale and the city is such a great partner of ours. We also want to be recognized as not just the hockey team for Glendale or Phoenix, but the team for the entire state of Arizona and the Southwest. We hope that the name ‘Arizona’ will encourage more fans from all over the state, not just the valley, to embrace and support our team.”
The jerseys won’t see any major overhaul, but will get a new shoulder patch, which will be unveiled at the Coyotes’ first pre-season game next fall. This isn’t without precedence in sports, of course.
In the NBA, the Golden State Warriors play out of Oakland, but before that they played home games in San Francisco. As a way to appeal to all of the Bay Area, as well as the entire state of California, the team was labeled Golden State, rather than Oakland. In Major League Baseball, the Minnesota Twins learned from the failure of the NBA’s Minneapolis Lakers (who moved to Los Angeles) and aimed to appeal to fans in St. Paul. So not only did they call the team Minnesota, but they nicknamed it the “Twins” to appeal to the cities on either side of the Mississippi River (the Twin Cities). The original logo even had two men – one representing Minneapolis, the other repping St. Paul – shaking hands across the river.
And there is also, of course, the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals, who play a stone’s throw away from Jobing.com Arena. The Coyotes situation isn’t the same as those first two, but it is a rebranding designed to appeal to a broader fan base. It is somewhat surprising, though, that an entirely new jersey isn’t being rolled out because it’s a great opportunity for the Coyotes to generate a new wave of jersey sales. But in a still-emerging – and perhaps recovering – hockey market such as the Phoenix area, perhaps you don’t want to risk detaching fans from a logo and look they’ve come to associate with. Thank goodness they’re not changing the entire jersey though. The Coyotes’ home and aways are among the best, most underrated jerseys in the NHL today.
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