I felt a bit sorry for the principals in the Phoenix Coyotes debacle before I came to my senses.
Giving my head a shake, I realized these are politicians and NHL executives who care about keeping hockey in Arizona because of money and an opportunity to save face, not because of any grand passion for the game.
If the City of Glendale loses the Coyotes, it will be bad for business. Boo hoo.
If the Goldwater Institute prevents Glendale, the NHL and potential owner Matt Hulsizer from getting their own way, thatís just tough.
Hulsizer could always use his own money to buy the team or Glendale and the NHL could find someone else who is willing do that.
Yes, there are some hardcore Coyotes fans (one Phoenix insider suggested there are about 15,000 hockey fans in the entire region) and itís truly sad for them to be this close to losing their team. You also have to feel bad for the players and their families and the people whose livelihoods depend on the Coyotes.
But all I can say is this: Cry us a river ... we know your pain all too well.
Fifteen years ago, Winnipegís beloved NHL team relocated to Phoenix, breaking the hearts of fans and ripping out a part of the cityís fabric.
It was like a death in the family for many and a crushing blow to the communityís identity.
Before the team left, children broke open piggy banks to contribute money to save the team, tens of thousands of people attended rallies and fans begged politicians to help get a new arena built so the team could stay.
Hard to imagine thousands of people digging into their change purses and forwarding their pension cheques to keep the Coyotes in Phoenix.
Still, we as a city didnít do enough to keep the Jets. Like in Glendale, there was opposition to using public money to build an arena and the private sector simply couldnít get the job done.
Weíll admit we screwed up 15 years ago and the NHL did little to help the Winnipeg Jets survive (certainly nothing like what they have done to make things work in Arizona).
But things have changed and now all parties have a chance to right the wrong.
The hockey experiment in the desert has failed. No one wants to pay good money to own a team there and while politicians would like to help, they have to deal with a government watchdog that doesnít like the idea of them spending hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to make it happen. Go figure.
The Coyotes have reportedly lost $40 million already this year and are 29th out of 30 teams in attendance. Despite the assertions of NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, Phoenix is simply not a good hockey market.
They have tried and failed to save their team and now itís time to move on. Winnipeg has deep-pocketed owners who are believed to be willing to give the NHL what it wants for the franchise.
Even Bettman looked and sounded defeated when he spoke to the media Tuesday night in Glendale.
Now our cityís dream of a Coyotes move back to the original home of the franchise could become reality. There are supposedly other options but this is the best one.
The pieces are in place and a deal is there to be made, if only Bettman can swallow his pride and allow it to happen.
Itís a move I believe the NHL will not regret.
Itís a move that will mean so much to so many people on this side of the border.
Itís a move that will mean so much to people who broke open piggy banks when they were kids and have grown up longing for a chance to have a team to call their own.