The Arizona Coyotes’ Unparalleled Pre-Season Tour: From the Australian Outback to NYC’s Skyline

Coyotes' pre-season adventure: Australia to NYC.

In a world where sports have long crossed boundaries and shattered geographical barriers, the Arizona Coyotes are setting a new benchmark in the realm of international sporting engagements. Embarking on an unprecedented pre-season tour, the Coyotes aren’t just expanding their horizons but also pushing the boundaries of where the game of hockey can be played and celebrated. From the rugged terrains of the Australian Outback, resonating with the sounds of wildlife and distant echoes of the Aborigines, to the bustling, illuminated skyline of New York City, punctuated with towering skyscrapers and neon billboards, this journey encapsulates more than just games. It’s a melding of cultures, a fusion of two worlds, and a testament to the universal appeal of the sport. Dive in as we traverse this extraordinary journey, capturing the spirit, the challenges, and the groundbreaking moments of this ambitious tour.

A New Roster, Same Adventurous Spirit

Although the Coyotes have infused fresh talent into their team with emerging prospects and shrewd free-agent inclusions, the spirit of adventure remains intact. This autumn, fans will witness a Coyotes team rejuvenated by fresh faces but driven by an age-old thirst for challenge.

The Long Road Home

The 2022 pre-season saw the Coyotes become nomads, waiting for Mullett Arena’s construction to finish. And the wait continues, as they’ll step onto their home ice only on Oct. 21, marking the fifth game of the 2023-24 regular season.

Table: Coyotes’ Extensive Away Games

LocationNumber of Games

Embarking on an Australian Adventure

Australia’s welcoming shores marked an iconic chapter for the NHL – the first instance of the league making its mark in the Southern Hemisphere. In a memorable face-off, the Coyotes took on the Los Angeles Kings in Melbourne, setting the stage at Rod Laver Arena, famed for hosting the tennis’ Australian Open.

This ambitious move isn’t just a first in terms of location. The sheer distance – a grueling 15-hour flight from Los Angeles – surpasses previous NHL journeys to Asian countries like Japan and China.

Logistical Challenges and Preparations

The mammoth task of setting up a temporary rink in Melbourne required intricate planning. By the end of July, critical equipment, including the iconic Zambonis, had reached Australia. The league’s commitment to ensuring a seamless experience was evident when Derek King, NHL’s senior director of facilities operations, scheduled his arrival for mid-September.

“My message has been consistent to Gary (Bettman) and Bill (Daly). Look, we’re a willing partner. We’re here. We’re ready.” – Ryan Smith

Coyotes’ Star Power on Display

Anticipation is rife, with many speculating that the Coyotes will showcase their top talents on this international stage. Some of the shining stars to watch out for include:

  • Logan Cooley
  • Dylan Guenther
  • Matt Dumba
  • Jason Zucker
  • Alexander Kerfoot

While these players dazzle in Australia, the Coyotes will also need to maintain a presence in the U.S., fulfilling commitments for three games within a tight 27-hour window.

Cooley donning the Coyotes' colors after his collegiate journey.

Snapshot: Stateside Games

Sept. 23St. Louis BluesEnterprise Center, St. Louis3 p.m. ET
Sept. 23St. Louis BluesWichita8 p.m. ET
Sept. 24Dallas StarsCedar Park, Texas6 p.m. ET

Wrapping Up the Pre-Season

With the international and stateside commitments addressed, the Coyotes will shift focus to games closer to their den. A mix of visits and neutral-site matches awaits, with the highlight being a clash against the Anaheim Ducks in early October.

New York City Beckons

In an exhilarating turn of events, the Coyotes will soon find themselves amidst the iconic skyscrapers of New York City. Their early-season schedule is packed with matches against formidable teams, including the Devils, Rangers, and Islanders.

“All told, 111 exhibition games will be played in 44 venues between Sept. 23 and Oct. 7 before the puck drops on the 2023-24 season, with a tripleheader on Tuesday, Oct. 10.”

Looking Forward: The Promise of Home

Despite the exhausting travels, the Coyotes have a silver lining. They’re set to reconnect with their fans sooner than the previous season. By the time November ends, almost half of their matches will have the comfort of home turf. As the only NHL team without a genuine home game this pre-season, their journey is unparalleled.

A Broader NHL Vision

The Coyotes’ adventurous pre-season is a part of the NHL’s broader vision of making hockey a global spectacle. Neutral venues, some traditional and others unprecedented, are hosting matches to celebrate various occasions, such as the Kraft Hockeyville contests.

The Arizona Coyotes’ pre-season journey embodies more than just games. It’s a testament to the team’s resilience, the league’s vision, and the sport’s growing global appeal. As fans eagerly await the onset of the regular season, these exhibition matches promise unmatched excitement and drama.

Hockey Expert
reviewed by: Jeremy Karamen (Hockey Expert)

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