Arizona Coyotes fans, Head Coach Andre Tourigny, react to team’s first half of inaugural season at Mullett Arena

Despite the recent losing slump, Arizona Coyotes fans are optimistic about the future of their favorite NHL team


NEVN Photography

The Arizona Coyotes are 7-6-2 at Mullett Arena this season

James Mackey, Reporter

Last week’s tilt at Mullett Arena between the Ottawa Senators, and the Arizona Coyotes was game No. 41 of 82 games scheduled for this NHL season, and the first logical assessment point as to where teams can expect to be come playoff time.

The Coyotes entered the night winless thus far in 2023, facing the Senators in the midst of a six-game losing streak.

It’s no secret that the Coyotes are in a rebuild–playing in a temporary home–but looking ahead to a bright future.

Given those circumstances, Coyotes fans are naturally using this year to base their expectations on the team’s performance moving forward.

Chris Moore, of San Tan Valley, feels like the Coyotes have exceeded his expectations at the midway point.

“Honestly, when you look at this team, and the way it was constructed, we weren’t designed to be a Stanley Cup contender this year, basically we’re in a rebuild, and I think this team has won a lot more games than a lot of people expected,” said Moore.

Even though Arizona fans have seen plenty of tough times, the future of the team and the team’s current level of play creates excitement in the minds of fans.

“The offense getting in order because we’ve shown flashes this year of it, a lot of contributions from (Nick) Schmaltz, (Clayton) Keller, (Lawson) Crouse, (Jakob) Chychrun,” said Jackson Franke of Scottsdale. “The development of the depth pieces, and the prospects starting to show up at the big league level.”

Even head coach Andre Tourigny thinks the first half of the season, despite the recent slump, shows promise for the future.

“We prove ourself, we can play really good hockey, and right now we’re in the middle of a slump, and you need to go through that and learn from it in order to be a successful franchise,” said Tourigny following the Coyotes 5-3 loss to Ottawa. “We did a lot of good things in the season. I think coming out with the schedule we had, challenge we had, distraction we had, negative vibe around the team, turn around to be a positive vibe when we arrived here in Mullett (Arena). We take a lot of pride in what happened in the first half.”

Arizona is currently ranked No. 7 in the Central Division, two points ahead of last-place Chicago.

The Coyotes return to Mullett Arena on Jan. 17 to play the Detroit Red Wings in their first home game of the second half.