The Arizona Coyotes, a professional ice hockey team based in the desert city of Glendale, Arizona, have a long-standing reputation for being a dominant force within their home arena. With an impressive record of wins and an electric atmosphere on game nights, the Coyotes have become a beloved team not only within their fan base but also among hockey enthusiasts around the world.
But what is it about the Coyotes’ home ice that makes them such a formidable opponent? How does the team continue to maintain its dominance despite being located in a non-traditional hockey market? Let’s dive into the world of the Arizona Coyotes and explore their success on their home turf.
The Desert Hockey Market
Hockey has always been a sport closely associated with cold, northern climates. Countries like Canada, Sweden, and Russia have produced some of the top players in the NHL, and it’s no surprise that many of the league’s most successful teams are located in traditionally hockey-crazy cities such as Toronto, Montreal, and Detroit.
However, with an increasing interest in the sport, the NHL began to expand beyond its usual boundaries and look for new markets to tap into. This led to the creation of the Arizona Coyotes (originally known as the Phoenix Coyotes) in 1996, becoming part of the first wave of expansion teams in the league. This move was met with skepticism by many, as the idea of hockey in the desert seemed like a far-fetched and unlikely concept.
The Coyotes faced many challenges in their early years, including a lack of interest from the local community and financial struggles. But through determination and hard work, the team slowly began to build a fan base and establish themselves as a legitimate contender in the NHL.
The Coyotes’ Home-Arena: Gila River Arena
Located in Glendale, Arizona, the Gila River Arena has been the Arizona Coyotes’ home since 2003. The arena, with a capacity of over 17,000 seats, is a state-of-the-art facility equipped with all the modern amenities and technology to enhance the fan experience.
One of the key factors that contributes to the Coyotes’ success in their arena is the ice surface itself. Due to the hot desert climate, keeping the ice at a consistent temperature and quality is a challenge. However, the Coyotes have invested in special technology and equipment to ensure that the ice remains in top condition, providing players with a level playing field to compete on.
The Coyotes’ Home-Ice Advantage
Having a strong home-ice advantage is essential for any sports team, and the Arizona Coyotes are no exception. A team’s home arena is where they play the majority of their games, and it becomes a familiar and comfortable environment for the players. This familiarity helps to build confidence, and confidence is key to a successful performance.
The Coyotes’ record on home ice speaks for itself. In the 2019-2020 season, the team had a 21-13-6 record at Gila River Arena, placing them in the top half of the league for home-ice winning percentage. This success can be attributed to a combination of factors, including the Coyotes’ strong defense, their experienced goaltending, and their loyal and passionate fan base.
The Coyotes vs. Opposing Teams
Opposing teams coming into Gila River Arena know they are in for a tough game. The Coyotes’ home-ice advantage puts visiting teams at a disadvantage, as they have to adapt to the ice and arena conditions quickly. This can make it challenging for them to execute their game plan effectively, giving the Coyotes a significant advantage.
Additionally, the Coyotes have built a reputation for being a physically demanding team with a hard-hitting style of play. This can be intimidating for opposing teams, especially when playing in front of a spirited home crowd. The constant support and noise from the stands elevate the team’s performance and make it challenging for visiting teams to remain focused.
As the Arizona Coyotes continue to establish themselves as a dominant force in the NHL, it’s clear that their success on home ice plays a crucial role in their overall performance. The combined efforts of the team, the coaching staff, the arena management, and the fans all contribute to creating a winning environment for the Coyotes.
The Coyotes’ home-ice advantage is a testament to the team’s resilience and determination to succeed, even in the face of adversity. And with the recent announcement of a new owner, Alex Meruelo, bringing a fresh perspective and investment to the team, the Coyotes are poised for even more success in their home arena and beyond.