This morning, as Arizona Coyotes CEO Anthony LeBlanc answered questions about the team's pending acquisition of the AHL's Springfield Falcons franchise, the team is leaning towards letting fans decide a very important question.
LeBlanc said they had ID'ed a handful of names, but once he saw fans reactions, team will likely do a "name the team" contest for fans.— Craig Morgan (@craigsmorgan) April 20, 2016
Having a Name the Team contest is a great idea to both generate fan interest and help tie the team closer to Arizona and the desert southwest. And we'd like to help.
We want to hear from you, FFH readers. What should be the #TucsonTeamName?
A Few Suggestions
An easy way to unify the brand across the state would be to also bring the Coyotes name down to Tucson. Naming the team the Tucson Coyotes would hardly be unusual, as the San Jose Barracuda, Providence Bruins, Texas Stars, Binghamton Senators, and Albany Devils can all attest. And naming the team the Coyotes would also fit ownership's desire for a unified color scheme.
Alternatively, hockey in Arizona has a much longer history than most people recognize. Phoenix played host to the World Hockey Association from 1974-1977, and professional hockey has been around uninterrupted in Arizona since 1989. In the Phoenix area, the standard bearer for minor league hockey has always been the Roadrunners. The Tucson Roadrunners would be a nice homage to the history of hockey in the desert.
But Phoenix isn't the only Arizona city with professional hockey ties. The Tucson Convention Center actually played host to three different minor league teams. The Tucson Tilt were a part of the junior-hockey Western States Hockey League from 2006-2007, the Tucson Gila Monsters played in the West Coast Hockey League from 1997-1999, and the Tucson Rustlers played in the Pacific Hockey League from 1978-1979. It's not much to go on, but it's still hockey history. Bringing back the Tucson Gila Monsters might spur more attention towards Arizona's hockey roots.
We Want to Hear From You!
There are, of course, downsides to fan votes, as the British National Environment Research Council learned recently. IceArizona will undoubtedly come across some less-than-ideal suggestions:
Teamy McTeamface! https://t.co/SV6noy2Cb8— George Fallar (@gfallar) April 20, 2016
So what should the name be? Vote in our poll, leave your suggestions in the comments section, and use the hashtag #TucsonTeamName on Twitter. We'll pick our favorites and let our readers decide!