Arizona Coyotes. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Arizona's new top affiliate will be playing in-state and the town does have a bit of hockey history. Fans have been invited to submit names for the squad and we've got some suggestions of our own.
The city council of Tucson, Arizona, has officially approved a deal that will bring the AHL's Springfield Falcons to town, where they will continue to serve as the farm team for the NHL's Coyotes. In a unanimous vote, the council signed off on a ten-year deal that city officials believe will shield taxpayers and the town from an undue financial burden.
While there is still work to be done before the team takes to the ice next season, the hurdles are being knocked down. There's also fun stuff to figure out, such as the team's name. The Coyotes are holding a contest to name the squad, but here are some ideas to get the creative juices flowing:
Roadrunners: To me, this is the favorite going in since the state has featured a number of minor pro teams called the Phoenix Roadrunners over the years. At the high end, there was the WHA squad of the 1970s and most recently, an ECHL team that last played in 2008-09.
Gila Monsters: Another name from the past, the Tucson Gila Monsters played two seasons in the old West Coast League back in the 1990s. I like this because it sets up the possibility of an "all-Monster" Calder Cup final (or at least conference final) featuring Tucson and the Lake Erie Monsters.
Hockey McHockeyfaces: Because the Coyotes are doing this contest on the Internet, this will come up.
Prowl: A group of Coyotes is called a "band," but you can't name a hockey team the Tucson Band because it sounds stupid. The Tucson Prowl sounds a little less stupid and you get that whole NHL team tie-in. Clearly I think this could be a minor league team name, but I'm not exactly selling it hard.
Cowboys: If you're not into animal names, Cowboys is geographically appropriate and connotes toughness. You're going to have at least a couple players from Western Canada on the team in all likelihood and no hockey team is using the moniker right now. You could also go with Mavericks or Rustlers (both Tucson minor pro teams of the past) or Wranglers or Banditos, but I like Cowboys.