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Coyotes Host Town Hall Meeting for Fans

Friday, 06.06.2014 / 1:19 AM / Features
By Dave Vest

SCOTTSDALE – Approximately 400 fans attended the Coyotes Town Hall Meeting on Thursday night at the Ice Den, the team’s official auxiliary rink.

Photo by Norm Hall.

Co-owner, President and CEO Anthony LeBlanc, General Manager Don Maloney and Head Coach Dave Tippett answered a wide variety of questions for nearly an hour, then interacted with fans informally for another 45 minutes or so.

“In this market we want to stay as relevant as possible,” LeBlanc said. “… We want to stay engaged, we want to work with our fans and we want to hear what they have to say… and I think it’s very important for our fans to hear what Don and Dave have to say. This is a very important event for us.”

Maloney agreed.

“I think it’s always good to connect with people and see what’s on their mind,” Maloney said. “It just kind of reaffirms how loyal some people are and how dedicated (they are), and how it means so much to their lives. It makes you feel good.”

Coyotes TV Play-By-Play Announcer Matt McConnell served as emcee of the proceedings.

Photo by Norm Hall.

LeBlanc began the event by reminding fans that the team will officially become the Arizona Coyotes on June 27 and that the team would offer merchandise featuring the new name for the first time at the team’s official NHL Draft Party on June 27 at Jobing.com Arena.

Other topics included:

• LeBlanc again stated that the team's name will officially change to the Arizona Coyotes on June 27, the opening night of the NHL Draft in Philadelphia.

• LeBlanc said that he and the eight other owners would meet with Maloney and Tippett on Friday to discuss, among other things, the team's payroll for players for next season.

"We want to hear from these guys to understand what needs to be done to make the team better," LeBlanc said.

• Tippett said he believes defensemen Connor Murphy and Brandon Gormley are ready to become full-time NHL players.

"I'd be surprised if they don't make our lineup (next season)," Tippett said. "... I expect both those young defensemen to be key figures for years to come."

• Maloney said although there are still nine impending unrestricted free agents from last year's team, there is some good news about those players.

"There's not a free agent that played here that doesn't want to stay," Maloney said. "The challenge is trying to come up with a salary that he can live with and that we can live with."

• LeBlanc said improvements are coming to the arena's food and beverage service, including a second Tim Hortons location inside the arena. He also promised that cell phone service within Jobing.com Arena would be better in 2014-15, too.

Photo by Norm Hall.

• Tippett said he expects prospects Max Domi and Henrik Samuelsson to make strong pushes for rosters spots at training camp. Maloney added the names of Lucas Lessio, Tobias Rieder and Tyler Gaudet to that list.

• Regarding the team's new plan for selling merchandise at the team store at Jobing.com Arena, LeBlanc said: "We will actually have a larger amount of inventory in the store for opening night than we had the entire season last year, so we will be doubling the amount of items available across the board."

• LeBlanc on Coyotes hosting an outdoor game: "I wouldn't expect to see one this coming season, but I do think it's fair to expect that we will see one in the near future."

Ditto an NHL All-Star Game, he said.

• LeBlanc said the Coyotes would again partner with radio station Arizona Sports 98.7 FM next season, and that a full-time analyst may be added to the radio broadcast team.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Click here to watch the entire event.

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