Keep your Coyotes

PAUL FRIESEN -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:58 AM ET

Hey Winnipeg, you're being dissed by a guy in Phoenix. A sportswriter from the desert, taking shots at us over hockey, of all things.

I'm talking about a column that appeared earlier this week in the online edition of the East Valley Tribune, a newspaper in Scottsdale, Ariz.

Written by Jerry Brown, it goes something like this (warning: the following may offend some readers, especially old Winnipeg Jets fans):

Last week, the Coyotes once again headed up to Winnipeg -- before it closes for the winter -- for an exhibition game ...

Now hold it right there, Jerry.

To suggest we close for winter is not only not clever, it reinforces what we already knew: that Americans are clueless when it comes to Canada. You probably think our idea of a good time in January is to venture out of the igloo, hop onto the dogsled and head straight for the nearest seal hunt, club in hand.

That's ridiculous. If we're going out in January, the only place those huskies are pointed to is the bar. Where we'll gladly take a Club in each hand, thank you very much.

Then you started getting personal, Jerry:

And once again, the still-frosted 'Peggers use the occasion to crow about how (1) their beloved Jets were stolen away and (2) Arizona doesn't deserve an NHL team.

Cool your Jets, Winnipeg. And let's not rewrite history, eh?

The city lost the team because it refused to build a suitable arena in 1996. Then once the team left, guess what? An arena was built.

Jerry, if you think we lost the team because we didn't care enough, then you've spent too much time in the sun. I bet we still buy more Jets jerseys than Arizonans buy Coyotes gear.

We lost the Jets because our millionaire owners didn't want to keep losing $10-20 million a year, which makes them a hell of a lot smarter than your millionaire owners.

And in case you hadn't noticed, our new arena is one of the busiest in North America, hosting dozens of concerts and the Manitoba Moose.

Speaking of our AHL team, you took quite a swipe at it, too, Jerry, mocking the fact we actually assign sportswriters to cover the Moose on a daily basis.

Winnipeg is a minor league sports town, so minor sports get major coverage. No surprise there.

The Valley is a big-time sports area. We have a baseball team in the pennant race, college and NFL football, NBA and NHL. Do you guys get the Super Bowl up there? Check the site this year.

Jerry, don't make us laugh. You call the Coyotes and Arizona Cardinals big-time sports? Your hockey team has yet to win a playoff series. Wile E. himself had more success chasing the Road Runner, for crying out loud.

And the laughingstock Cardinals have been taking the "professional" out of pro sports for decades.

We'll give you the Super Bowl. Heck, you can have that over-hyped corporate snoozefest every year. We'll take the Grey Cup (check the site last year) and its blue-collar, fan-friendly atmosphere any day, not to mention the game itself, which we'd stack up against yours, nine times out of 10.

You really took the cake, though, Jerry, with your closing comments.

By the way, the new arena here is fabulous. The lease has 27 years left to run, and the organization has decided to build through the draft (what a concept).

We're keeping the team. Winning will breed interest. So get over it.

Let's see, 27 years at $30 million per, that amounts to some $800 million in losses at the current rate, Jerry. That's $800 million Canadian too, by the way.

Building through the draft? The way the Coyotes draft, that'll produce a playoff team by, say, 2020, at which time you'll be able to shoot a cannon through your lovely arena.

You're keeping the team, eh?

Who said we wanted it back?

What we've got in mind is something actually resembling an NHL team.


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