If they build it, will fans come? Arizona Coyotes coach, players weigh in on future move to Tempe

Posted at 3:42 PM, Nov 15, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-29 09:21:37-05

If all goes according to plan -- and as we know, nothing is guaranteed when it comes to this team -- the Arizona Coyotes will relocate from their West Valley home in Glendale to a new East Valley venue in Tempe in time for the 2019-20 season.

Some of the Coyotes' youngest players who are likely to still play for the Coyotes in three years couldn't be happier about the news.

"I'm really excited. Those pictures (of the proposed arena) were awesome that I saw online," said defenseman Connor Murphy, who is signed with the Coyotes through the 2021-22 season. 

"I think everyone's really pumped for that location. Just meeting people in the Valley over the past few years that have been here, it's cool to see the fan base we have over the whole Valley, especially on that side."

Coyotes coach Dave Tippett called the Coyotes' Tempe plans "a good first step" and, based on the conversations he's had with fans, believes there's a good chance attendance will increase once the team leaves Glendale.

"From the perspective that I get from a lot of people around, there's a perspective that a lot more people would go if it was over on the east side," he said. 

Coyotes forward Max Domi is just 21 years old, meaning he'll still be in the early half of his 20s when the Yotes make the move across town. Like Murphy, Domi is excited about the news, but he knows it's up to the team to encourage fans to fill up the new arena.

"It's been a long time coming here for us, the staff here, the fans. It's going to be great for the whole organization," he said. "Hopefully we can move forward here, and now that we've got that in the back of our minds we can just worry about what we're doing on the ice and find a way to put a winning product out there." 

Murphy said he's thrilled for fans who live east of Phoenix to be able to attend more games without having to drive across the Valley to do so.

"You've got people in Mesa and Gilbert and Chandler, and you've got Tempe and Scottsdale right around," he said. "It's cool and exciting, the opportunity for fans to be able to be closer to an arena on that side, and for us to be able to get into a new rink would be really cool.

"We have nothing against (being) here in Glendale. I think this arena is unreal, but it's always exciting to have something new to look forward to, too."

Domi is looking forward to being able to place his focus back on the ice where it belongs, rather than hearing constant rumors of where the team may or may not end up.

"It's never fun when you're not sure what the future holds," he said. "We couldn't be happier about staying in Arizona and moving to Tempe. It's going to be great for our group and we're looking forward to it.

"Glendale's great. We have great support out here ... No knock on Glendale at all, but I think Tempe's going to be awesome. Hopefully it's a little closer for some people to get to, but at the end of the day it's ultimately going to be up to us and how we play on the ice, and everything else will kind of fall into place, hopefully."