In the movie Groundhog Day Bill Murray’s character Phil, a television weatherman by trade, is assigned to cover Punxsutawney Phil. Little did he know, it was going to be the longest day of his life as he had to relive it over and over again.
Despite his best efforts to beg, borrow and steal his way out of the situation he was trapped in an infinite loop worse than the one ESPN has on SportsCenter when Tim Tebow news breaks. It wasn’t until he got everything perfectly right that he was finally allowed to wake up without hearing Sonny and Cher blaring from the clock radio.
When it is a movie, it’s one of the most re-watchable films in history. Regardless of what point the movie is at, if you come across it on cable you are basically dared not to watch it. When it is a four-year long sports saga it is pretty much mind numbing as it has been with the Phoenix Coyotes.
Since May of 2009 Yotes fans have been subject to watching the same storyline play out over and over and over again. If you simply changed the name of the group interested in purchasing the team the situation would play out exactly the same way. A group would show interest, negotiate a deal with the NHL while finances and an unfavorable lease with Glendale would get in the way and tank the deal. It was almost enough to make fans want to put a toaster in the bathtub or drive your truck on the train tracks, except for the fact that they knew they’d likely just wake up and be in the same place yet again.
It continued for 51 straight months. That is until Monday when, while driving around the Valley, people were greeted by billboards that had a Coyotes logo and the phrase “here to stay”. It was a sign that many, yours truly, had been waiting for like a person looking for a message from God or the sports gods in this situation.
It’s also a much different sign than myself and many others were holding in May of 2009. That was when I helped stage the “Save the Coyotes” Rally in Glendale. An event that saw more than 500 of the most passionate puck heads in the Valley — think in the vein of Slap Shot and the Hansen brothers — come together for an impromptu White Out to show the NHL and Canada that Arizona didn’t want to lose their hockey team.
It served its purpose but it wasn’t the end of the fight. It was just the first shot fired. For years that “Save the Coyotes” sign has sat in my garage. As a matter of fact, in three different incarnations of my garage from two apartments to a house and through three different cars. It’s been there through three playoff appearances and the team’s first division title. And it’s been there through a saga longer than any soap opera has ever come up with.
Now, thanks to ICE Arizona and the new ownership group, the sign can finally be put away for good, to my wife’s delight. Just like all the other relics buried in boxes in the garage. Although, it won’t be put too deep, it does have a five-year out clause that may allow it to see the light of day again and for Yotes fans own personal Groundhog Day sequel to start all over again.