The NHL has been locked out for over a week now, but today Phoenix Coyotes fans really feel its effects. Our Five For Howling preseason countdown was supposed to end today as the Coyotes were scheduled to take on the Los Angeles Kings at Jobing.com Arena tonight. Any hopes of that game happening were crushed on Wednesday when the league canceled all September preseason games. So instead of thousands of Coyotes fans flocking to Glendale today, thousands of Coyotes fans will stay home as the seemingly never ending offseason continues.
What is a hockey fan in Arizona to do? Of course there is ASU hockey, who defeated Texas A&M last Thursday 13-0 (yes, you read that correctly). Many of their games coincide with when the Coyotes were scheduled to play. If you already blocked out dates for Coyotes hockey, you can easily transition to Sun Devils hockey. What if you don't live in the greater Phoenix area? There is hockey to watch in Prescott Valley. The Arizona Sun Dogs of the Central Hockey League could satisfy your hockey needs but they unfortunately went 19-38-9 last season.
Supporting Arizona hockey teams, whether professional, collegiate or youth should be the first option. If you don't live in Arizona or your schedule prevents you from going, there is an alternative. That alternative is the Canadian Hockey League. The WHL, QMJHL and OHL all have packages so fans can watch games on their computers. I spent Saturday night watching a WHL game between the Portland Winterhawks and the Seattle Thunderbirds. It is a great way to follow quality hockey and it will keep you well informed come draft time. If you want to see first round pick Henrik Samuelsson play, tune into an Edmonton Oil Kings game.
If all else fails, you can watch NHL Network highlights wearing your Coyotes Snuggie while carrying on a conversation with your Shane Doan bobble head. It will be okay, we won't tell anyone. Now, my Mike Smith goalie stick (from game 4 in Nashville) and I have some highlights to watch. Pass the remote.