Arena deal requires team to be called 'Arizona Coyotes'
The Phoenix Coyotes — who haven't played in the city of Phoenix since leaving the America West Arena in 2003 — will have a new name in 2013. The city of Glendale, Ariz. approved an arena management deal on Tuesday that should help keep the team in town for the foreseeable future. Among other things, that deal requires the team to be renamed the Arizona Coyotes.
At the moment, the name change is not quite official. The sale to Greg Jamison still has to be completed and there are plenty of questions surrounding that these days. But assuming that all goes through as planned, I would expect the name changed to be announced as the same press conference as the sale.
Here's the exact wording from the arena agreement (page 40):
The Team Owner shall use commercially reasonable efforts to have the name of the Team changed to the “Arizona Coyotes” as soon as is commercially feasible.
New owner has planned for name change all along
The Coyotes' coming name change isn't hot off the presses or anything. It's been talked about for years (though I haven't really gotten it on the record here until now). In fact — more recently — Jamison has been talking about changing the name to Arizona Coyotes since at least June.
According to a report from CBS Sports:
It looks as if the Phoenix Coyotes will change their name although they will have to wait a year. Jamison wants to call the team the Arizona Coyotes, joining the NHL's Arizona Cardinals and baseball's Arizona Diamondbacks as professional sports teams seeking a statewide appeal.
Could they change more than just the name?
The logical next question I have to ask is whether Jamison would take this opportunity to change more than just the name. Could the team's whole image use a makeover considering the drama it's been forced to endure in recent years?
If so, it would be the franchise's fifth logo in 34 years (not including the WHA). The Winnipeg Jets joined the NHL in 1979 and changed logos 11 years later in 1990. The team then relocated to Arizona in 1996, a move which required a new logo to go with a new name. The Coyotes' current look was introduced in 2003, just seven years after that relocation.
What do you think? Keep the logos and swap out Phoenix for Arizona? Or go back to the drawing board and hopefully find something that could stick for decades to come?