Coyotes owner Alex Meruelo refuses to show up for team's final game
Zuma Press  

Coyotes owner Alex Meruelo refuses to show up for team's final game

The most hated man in Arizona.



It's all over for the Arizona Coyotes. 

For better or worse, this team is done in the Arizona desert and will pack up for Salt Lake City, Utah next season.

The Coyotes franchise is officially leaving the Arizona market after 28 tumultuous years and last night both the players and the fans got one final send off.

The Coyotes managed a 5-2 victory over the Edmonton Oilers in Tempe's 5,400 capacity Mullett Arena, but it's hardly the game action that anyone was talking about afterwards. No, it was the on ice farewell celebrations that took place after the final buzzer. The entire Coyotes franchise seemingly spilled out onto the ice to take in the gravity of it all, giving us a few special moments to share.

Check it out:

Once everyone was off the ice, things spilled into the back parking lot:

The most touching part of the evening though, was also one of the most frustrating moments of the evening. Longtime Coyotes captain Shane Doan, who had his #19 retired by the team in 2019, was reunited with the #19 banner after it had reportedly been thrown in the trash by the team during their move from Glendale's Gila River Arena. An arena worker discovered the banner and managed to grab it before it was destroyed. Last night he returned it to Doan at Mullett Arena.

The Coyotes were reportedly contacted by reps at Gila River Arena after they were evicted from the building, but they simply never showed up to collect their things. In other words, the Coyotes were awful tenants who not only failed to pay their bills, but they left their junk behind too.

In any case, you have to feel for Doan here. You know he's just trying to put on a brave face during this interaction but to know that the team he poured his heart and soul into didn't care one ounce for his banner really tells you all you need to know about this franchise and how it was run.

Honestly, I feel for the hardcore Coyotes fans out there. There obviously just weren't enough hardcore fans to make things work in Arizona, but that doesn't make the real ones any less real. As a Canadian hockey fan who has watched two of my favorite franchises come and go, I can sympathize with Coyotes fans. The fact is that you deserved better than what the Coyotes and its rag tag collection of owners served up. This team never really had stability in the market and they suffered in all ways because of it. When the team was good and they were stationed in downtown Phoenix, times were good... but that was over 20 years ago. Since then the team has struggled to find its footing and has bled tens of millions of dollars. The move to Glendale was disastrous, but not nearly as disastrous as the pitiful Tempe pitch that owner Alex Meruelo fumbled. 

Meruelo, by the way, neglected to show up for last night's game. The final game in his team's history.

Doesn't that just say it all right there?

RIP, Arizona Coyotes.

Source: PHNX Sports