The Coyote Cup
Given to the team that has no business being in its current location.
I used NHL.com's attendance statistics for this article.
I have disregarded several attendance numbers from January and February, as bad weather in New York kept people away.
And the nominees are:
The Phoenix Coyotes
Cold, snowy weather has no bearing on attendance figures for the Desert Dogs. They have no excuses, even fewer now that they are a playoff team.
Excluding the New York games that had bad attendance due to snowstorms, the Coyotes had the worst and second-worst attended games all season (6,706 on Oct 21 and 6,761 on Nov 3). Going from bottom to top in attendance, the bottom of the list is littered with Coyotes games.
It's time for Gary Bettman to come to his senses and let this struggling drain on the NHL's finances go somewhere sensible.
The Atlanta Thrashers
These awards reflect the past season. Atlanta may not currently have an NHL team, but that's exactly why they're on this list. This past season was the final one for Atlanta, and that's a good thing. While the Thrashers may not have been quite so bad as the Islanders or the Coyotes, they still had some appearances on the bottom end of the attendance rankings. Their absence (the second time an Atlanta team has had to move) demonstrates that hockey does not work in southern cities.
The New York Islanders
How the mighty have fallen. The citizens don't want to buy them a new arena. The management is goofy. The owner is insane. The team is a joke.
And no one goes to the games. It could be that their ticket prices are outrageous (my wife went to law school just a nine-iron away from the Mausoleum, and we never went to a single game, because even the nosebleed seat prices were way beyond our means). Someone needs to tell Charles Wang that people will only pay exorbitant ticket prices if 1) the team is awesome, or 2) there's so much fan support that you can sell out every game no matter how much you suck (see: Maple Leafs, Toronto). The Islanders definitely do not qualify. People aren't going to the games, so prices need to fall. Wang wants to put the team in a badly needed new stadium, but he expects the taxpayers to foot the bill. No dice, Charles.
I know its tough: you have to spend money to make money, and it's a hard pill to swallow, lowering ticket prices when you need more money, not less. But if no one's buying the tickets, then you have to go back to your Econ 101 textbook and look up "Chapter 1: Supply vs Demand".
As it is, the team needs to just go away. The citizens obviously don't care, and neither does the management. What this team needs is a completely new identity. New city (hell, they could move to Queens or Brooklyn), new ownership, new stadium, new everything. Because it's just not working on the Island.