New majority owner of the Arizona Coyotes Alex Meruelo made a great first impression on his fan base today. Meruelo took the stage this afternoon at Gila River Arena and, among other things, promised that he would keep the Coyotes in Arizona:
I am committed to stay here. I will do everything I can in my heart, and in my hard work to make sure that we can make it viable…I will not stop until we bring a Stanley Cup to the Valley.
Given the constant issues that the Coyotes franchise has had with both ownership turnover and attendance, the team has continually been rumored to be a candidate to re-locate to a new market. Although NHL expansion has quieted some of these whispers, cities like Houston and Quebec City remain interested in adding an NHL club and the Coyotes are always considered the top candidate. However, the league has remained dedicated to the state and the new owner has joined in.
Meruelo spoke openly and honestly in his press conference about many things, including his childhood dreams of owning a sports franchise and his role as the NHL’s first Hispanic owner. His commitment to keep the Coyotes in Arizona seems just as legitimate. While that doesn’t necessarily mean that the team will remain in Glendale, having previously expressed a desire to move to a new arena – an idea backed by the league – it seems that Arizona fans can rest easy for a while longer that their team isn’t going the way of the Thrashers.