Pro hockey in Arizona is perilous enough these days, so naturally, the Coyotes are doubling down. Yesterday, the NHL club announced an agreement to purchase their AHL affiliate, the Springfield Falcons, and relocate the franchise to Tucson.
The deal isn't final yet so there's no word yet on what this will mean in terms of branding — apart from the fact that the Falcons are done in Massachusetts after 22 seasons. They might keep the name — Tucson Falcons — or they may go with something entirely new.
Either way, this team was due for a new look in 2016-17. They weren't able to meet the deadline to make revisions to their uniforms this season, so they continued to match their former NHL affiliate in Columbus. Now, there's a lot more up in the air.
So what do we know about Tucson hockey? The last pro team to skate there was the Tucson Gila Monsters of the West Coast Hockey League (which merged with the ECHL in 2003). The club was founded in 1997 and played a season and a half before folding.
Also, their logo was less than good.
But I'm sure the AHL is thrilled about expanding their west coast territory after moving five teams to California last summer. I just hope they can fill the seats in Tucson so we don't have to do this all over again in a year or two.