NHL Franchise Notes: Anti-Coyotes Arena Referendum Group 300 Signatures Short
In Phoenix, Lisa Halverstadt reports organizers behind an effort to "refer Glendale's Phoenix Coyotes deal to the ballot delivered their signatures on Thursday, although the city has said that is three days after the deadline." As another "stumbling block for referendum supporters, the group was about 300 signatures short." At the same time, Coyotes fans "formed a political action committee to persuade residents the deal is best for the city in the long run." Glendale officials have said that the city "would review the signatures but is unlikely to support placing the measure on the November ballot." The city review "should be completed by early next week" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 7/13).
TO MARKET, TO MARKET: In Ft. Worth, Mac Engel wrote if the Stars are going to rejoin the Dallas-Ft. Worth market "as real players, they would be wise to take advantage of what could be their best opportunity to be relevant since the mid-'90s." In what may be the "first time since the Mavericks and Stars relocated to the American Airlines Center, the ticket-buying audience may be more enticed to watch hockey than basketball." Engel: "That is if the Stars can finally put a real winner on the ice, and the NHL doesn't shoot itself in the foot in the next couple of months with a labor dispute that could delay the start of the season." Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk said, "It does feel a little like 1999 when Tom Hicks took over and got the ball rolling. We have the ball rolling here now" (STAR-TELEGRAM.com, 7/11).
THE FRENCH CONNECTION: In Buffalo, Aaron Mansfield notes the Sabres on Thursday "announced plans to honor the team’s legendary French Connection by erecting a bronze statue outside of First Niagara Center." The 10-foot statue of Hockey HOFer Gilbert Perreault and former NHLers Rene Robert and Rick Martin "will be unveiled Oct. 12, the day before the Sabres host Pittsburgh in the season opener." The Sabres also are "creating their own 'Alumni Plaza' with the sculpture as its centerpiece." The plaza will "honor every Sabre." All 401 players "will be put on plaques, which will go in brick columns that support a walkway above the plaza." Sabres fans can also "purchase for $100 and reserve custom plaques to be placed among those of the players" (BUFFALO NEWS, 7/13).
GETTING WILD: The Wild announced that 6,500 fans "attended Thursday's scrimmage, which featured two squads of the team's best prospects." In St. Paul, Ben Goessling notes the team gave away 1,000 D Ryan Suter T-shirts, but those "were gone within minutes after bigger-than-expected crowds forced the Wild to open the gates early" (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 7/13).