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The Phoenix Coyotes will be straight outta Arizona next season

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The Phoenix Coyotes announced on Wednesday that the franchise will be known as the Arizona Coyotes, effective at the beginning of the 2014-15 season.

“We are very excited to announce that our franchise name will change to Arizona Coyotes for the start of the 2014-15 NHL season,” Coyotes Co-Owner, President and CEO Anthony LeBlanc said. “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.”

The Coyotes called Phoenix home from 1996 until 2002. In 2003 Jobing.com Arena, in the Phoenix suburb of Glendale, was completed and the Coyotes moved across the Valley to their current home.

The Arizona Coyotes will join the Arizona Cardinals and Arizona Diamondbacks as local franchises that don’t attach themselves to an individual city but instead try to appeal to the whole state. It is Coyotes’ hope that a simple change will lead to a broader fan base and greater appeal.

"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,” LeBlanc said. “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 only change to the Coyotes uniform is a new shoulder patch that will make its debut in the 2014-15 preseason.

It’s hard to say if the change from Phoenix to Arizona will impress the state’s population, increase brand awareness and then help attendance at Coyotes home games.

One can only speculate that if a team is not tied to a city but instead embraces the large populous of the state will it ultimately help its popularity. More importantly does it really matter that a team doesn’t play where its moniker indicates?

The New York Giants and Jets share a home in New Jersey and despite not playing in the correct state the stadium is filled. The Giants and Jets were second and fifth, respectively in average attendance per game in the 2013 season.

The Golden State Warriors have a vague location, California is approximately 163,000 square miles, and yet they are fifth in the NBA in average attendance per game.

But maybe switching from Phoenix to Arizona will help the Coyotes. It's worth a shot because they are last in the NHL attendance. What else do the Coyotes have to lose?

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