Coyotes Scrimmage For Granite Mountain Hotshots

Patch on Coyotes sweaters

Patch on Coyotes sweaters

A Great Evening

Over six thousand people showed up for a Coyotes intra-squad scrimmage at 7 pm on a school night in the middle of the week. Moms and Dads brought their kids, even knowing they’d be a little sleepy in school today, because it was important.

The new owners of the Coyotes opened the arena and their checkbooks to help give something back to the families of fallen firefighters.

Nineteen members of the Granite Mountain Hotshots gave up their lives this summer (on Sunday, June 30th). They were overrun by wildfire while fighting the Yarnell Hill fire south of Prescott, Arizona. It was the worst loss of life for firefighters since 9/11.

Fourteen of them were in their 20’s. Thirteen of them were seasonal workers, which has turned out to be an additional problem since their families are not legally entitled to full survivor’s benefits. A lot of wives and kids were left behind.

That’s a brief bit of the story, there’s plenty more information about the fire and the Granite Mountain Hotshots online.

The short version is there are Arizona families that could fall through the support cracks and need some well deserved help, with no strings attached or hoops to jump through.

Badass Head Coach

Dave_TippettCoyotes CEO Anthony LeBlanc gave credit to GM Don Maloney and Head Coach Dave Tippett for the scrimmage fundraiser idea.

It turns out Tippett, besides being arguably the best coach in the NHL, dropped out of helicopters for two summers in northern Saskatchewan putting out wildfires. Dropped out of helicopters with three other guys to deal with backcountry wildfires.

Helicopters.

Four guys on the ground fighting a fire until they were relieved by a larger posse.

Four.

He talked about it with Sarah McLellan in this story on AZCentral.com:

Tippett was part of a five-member Helitech crew, one of whom was a helicopter pilot.

“When there was a fire spotted, they would drop us in to get working on it to try to get it contained early until they could get a bigger crew there,” he said. “We were, a lot of times, in and out of fires but were in some ones that were significant.

That’s our coach. Come to think of it, he dropped into a fire when he accepted the Coyotes head coach position. So far, so good.

Great Results

BUiyyiGCYAAnjuUThe Coyotes issued a press release today announcing the results:

“Ticket sales from the game combined with the 50/50 raffle and player signed jerseys auction generated over $67,599. The Coyotes ownership group IceArizona, LLC matched these efforts by donating an additional $67,599, while the Coyotes players donated $25,000. The Coyotes Alumni Association also contributed $5,000.”

If you add that up, it’s a total of $165,198 to be distributed directly to the families of the firefighters that were lost in the Yarnell Hill fire.

The game was actually a LOT of fun to watch, we got to see everybody in a game situation and some of the new guys showed what they were made of. I came away impressed with the string of guys who will be ready to go in the next few years and some that, to me, looked ready to go now.

400 shootout rounds didn’t seem to be a testament to the goalies, looked more like some shootout practice is in the cards soon.

The boss felt motivated to tweet:

Minor Hiccups

Westgate, as of yesterday, didn’t have a game night event agreement locked down with the Coyotes. If I had to guess, I imagine parking (paid versus free) would have been one sticking point to be resolved. Anyway, because there was no agreement in place, Westgate refused to let the fire department guys park a Hotshot Crew rig, a Glendale FD ladder with a big American flag hung from the boom and an antique fire engine (also from Glendale FD) in the plaza between the arena and the fountains.

Scrooges.

Why aren't these people smiling at me?

Why aren’t these people smiling at me?

Glendale Councilmember Gary Sherwood was scheduled to ride one of the Zambonis between periods. He was running late, so his Zamboni seat was ably taken over by a Glendale firefighter who gathered big cheers from the crowd.

The guest seat on the other Zamboni was occupied by the mayor of Glendale, Jerry Weiers. He was wearing his “MAYOR 1” Coyotes sweater, which I doubt was bought for cash money from the team shop.

Weiers was a vocal opponent to the arena management deal that resulted in the Coyotes continuing to attract 600,000+ people each year to his town. He voted against the deal, yet is a frequent inhabitant in the city suite at the arena. He and some of his family were sitting on the glass for this game, we assume he ponied up five bucks for each ticket instead of riding the city freebie ticket train.

Jerry was booed loudly by the crowd at Jobing.com arena.

I couldn’t be more proud of Coyotes fans.

In closing, one of the other bosses adds a mildly snarky tweet and corresponding advertising splash