Coyotes CEO LeBlanc Seeks Increased Attendance, Youth Hockey Growth In '14
There is "plenty going on behind the scenes with IceArizona as it settles into its first year as the ownership group" of the Coyotes, even as the team and its performance "continue to grab the most attention," according to Sarah McLellan of the ARIZONA REPUBLIC. Team President & CEO Anthony LeBlanc said, "I'm probably a little disappointed in where we are with attendance. There are those marquee games like the Chicago game, which was obviously a very big night for us from the perspective that we broke the regular-season franchise record for gate revenue for a single game. But (two weeks ago), we had the Islanders and Carolina in town and there was roughly 10,000, 11,000 people in the building, and that’s simply not good enough. So we know those are the nights we have a lot of work to do." He added, "There are some positives, but there’s a lot more work. We need stronger support." LeBlanc also discussed how the Coyotes can "grow the sport in the region." He said, "You’ll start seeing that in the first part of the New Year as we put together some more involvement with the Coyotes in youth hockey. We really want to make some changes, and this is something I remember shortly after we closed, [Coyotes RW] Shane Doan sat down with myself and one of my partners, Daryl Jones, and outlined his thoughts on how the Coyotes should be involved in minor hockey in the community. So we’ve already had a meeting with all the directors for youth hockey in the region, and we’re just trying to put an umbrella in place that we can all work closely together and enhance the sport." Asked what his New Year's resolution for the organization is, LeBlanc said, "For myself on the business side, I’d like to see attendance increase. It's increased and gone up year over year, but we need to see that number go up. So I’m going to be working with our marketing department and our sales department and just the community at large to have more people come out to see this product" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 12/25).