The Arizona Coyotes have had an extremely busy off-season. They’ve undergone changes to ownership, the front office, and even more transformation on the ice, but the changes are only one part of their productive off-season. The organization has also continued its commitment to the local community surrounding Phoenix and beyond.
Youth Hockey Development
To continue to encourage exposing youths to the game, the Coyotes unveiled a new DEK hockey rink in El Mirage, the second of such rinks that the organization has built. The purpose of these rinks is to give kids and adults the ability to play dek or ball hockey in a safe environment without having to spend a lot of money on equipment. Players would only need to bring a hockey stick, a ball and tennis shoes in order to play. Managed by the Valley of the Sun YMCA the new El Mirage rink is currently accepting registrations for hockey clinics. Additionally, the team is preparing for another season for all of its hockey development programs: Little Howlers, Coyotes Hockey Schools, and the Part of the Pack partnerships.
The Tucson Roadrunners, the AHL affiliate of the Coyotes, are also expanding their presence in the local community with the Roadrunners Give Back program. This operation is a branch of the Arizona Coyotes Foundation, a fundraising organization that according to its website “seeks to enhance the quality of life throughout Arizona communities by supporting non-profit organizations that promote healthcare, education and cultural arts programs for children and service men and women.” The foundation coordinates multiple events throughout the hockey season and has raised $450,000 and $619,000 in the 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 seasons, respectively. Those funds were then distributed to various local non-profits such as the Phoenix Children's Hospital Foundation, Desert Hockey Development, Special Olympics Arizona, Veterans Heritage Project, Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Phoenix and HopeKids, to name just a few. Grant recipients for funds raised during the 2016-17 season should be announced in the coming months.
The new Roadrunners Give Back branch of the foundation will raise funds in a similar manner as the parent cub with events like the 50/50 raffle, a possible future golf tournament, and an upcoming Roadrunners Faceoff Luncheon to be held on October 3rd. During a press conference Roadrunner’s President Bob Hoffman said, “every dime of what we raise, that we have at our disposal we put right back in to local Tucson charities and local Tucson initiatives.”
Connecting with Fans
Whether it be an open house, luncheons or a town hall, the Coyotes top brass are making themselves available to the fans. The Coyotes kicked off the busy off season with an Open House held at Gila River Arena, where season ticket holders could choose their seats, and kids could play ball hockey with an NHL player. Early in the coming season the Arizona Coyotes Foundation will be holding their own Faceoff Luncheon on October 3rd, where fans who are willing to pay the registration price get the opportunity to have lunch with players, broadcasters, or senior executives.
Additionally, the team has already held a handful of invite-only town halls with locally-owned pubs/partners Cold Beers & Cheeseburgers and SanTan Brewing Company. The town halls are informal events where fans can mingle and chat with CEO Steve Patterson and GM John Chayka about anything and everything. "We do appreciate all the communications and feedback,” Patterson said at the SanTan Brewing Company Town Hall. "We'll be here...talking to folks, considering your questions, your ideas, we welcome them all." Another town hall, this one open to the public, is scheduled to be held on September 23rd prior to the preseason game against the San Jose Sharks. This Town Hall will be held at the Renaissance Glendale Hotel and Spa from 4-5 p.m. Be sure to bring your ideas and questions!