Outdoor ice hockey in Phoenix seems like an odd mix or a even a contradiction. But Phoenix Coyotes president and CEO Anthony LeBlanc is interested in having his team host an outdoor game in Arizona.
"It's very attractive to us," LeBlanc said during an appearance on Fan 590 in Toronto on Monday. "We're trying to grow the brand of the National Hockey League in Arizona, which is a non-traditional market. Anything we can do that will help us accelerate growing that brand we're going to do."
Glendale, a suburb of Phoenix, is hosting the 2015 Super Bowl at University of Phoenix Stadium and it has been speculated that an outdoor NHL game featuring the Coyotes would be held around the same time, approximately February 2015. The Phoenix metropolitan area has two facilities to possibly host an outdoor hockey game. The aforementioned University of Phoenix Stadium and Chase Field in downtown Phoenix. Chase Field is the home of Major League Baseball’s Arizona Diamondbacks and like University of Phoenix it has a retractable roof.
At this point it only speculation and LeBlanc wanted to emphasize that.
"Our view is we presented to the league that we'd be very interested in hosting one," LeBlanc said. "That's as far as we've gone."
The NHL is producing six outdoor games this season at five different outdoor venues:
- Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Detroit Red Wings at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, MI.
- New York Rangers vs. New York Islanders at Yankee Stadium in New York
- New York Rangers vs. New Jersey Devils at Yankee Stadium
- Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Chicago Blackhawks at Soldier Field in Chicago
- Ottawa Senators vs. Vancouver Canucks at BC Place in Vancouver
- Anaheim Ducks vs. Los Angeles Kings at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles.
It stands to reason that if they can successfully produce an outdoor ice hockey game in Los Angeles then the Coyotes might have a chance to host one of their own. But then again both stadium in the greater Phoenix area have retractable roofs and a lot of air conditioning.
A possible hindrance of outdoor Phoenix Coyotes ice capades is the team’s lackluster attendance. Currently the Coyotes are last in the NHL in attendance with 12,865 patrons per home contest. Even though it is early in the season Phoenix has regressed in home attendance from last season by 7.6%, they averaged 13,924 fans at Jobing.com Arena in 2012-13.