This is a tough look for the NHL.
Photos have surfaced of the dressing rooms at the Arizona Coyotes’ Mullett Arena. This is the new three-year home of the Coyotes until they move into their eventual new arena in Tempe.
The Coyotes were evicted from their previous arena, Gila River Area, due to unpaid taxes. It’s no secret around the hockey world that the Coyotes are struggling financially.
The Coyotes are sharing Mullett Arena with the ASU Sun Devils college hockey team. The arena only has a 5,000 capacity and clearly wasn’t built to host NHL games.
Due to scheduling conflicts, the Coyotes began the 2022-23 season on a six-game road trip. Preparations have been underway to get Mullett Arena ready for the Yotes home opener on Friday, October 28th vs Winnipeg.
We got a first look at the temporary visiting team spaces (dressing room, training areas, etc.) for the first 4 NHL games at Mullett Arena!
The annex is being built and expected to be ready in December.
— PHNX Coyotes (@PHNX_Coyotes) October 26, 2022
The actual dressing rooms are still under construction, so they had to make due with a temporary fix. Photos have been released showing the completed temporary dressing rooms at Mullett Arena.
Here’s a look at the locker room for visiting teams:
The home dressing room doesn’t appear to be that much nicer (slideshow):
There has been social media outrage about the photos, as fans believe this reflects poorly on the NHL. TSN’s Dustin Nielson tweeted, “Embarrassing for the NHL, you can’t convince me otherwise.”
Embarrassing for the NHL, you can’t convince me otherwise. https://t.co/xZWLmP7pDh
— Dustin Nielson (@nielsonTSN1260) October 28, 2022
Some people have had a different reaction, however, using this opportunity to shed a light on the poor conditions women hockey players have to deal with. Women’s hockey writer Marisa Ingemi took exception to the outrage over the Coyotes’ dressing rooms.
I don’t know I keep hearing people talk about how unacceptable this is for pro sports and then think about circumstances women’s athletes are expected to accept https://t.co/8RFDMSGz6h
— Marisa Ingemi 🎃 (@Marisa_Ingemi) October 28, 2022
It’s true that women’s hockey players often get the short end of the stick, but it’s hard to make a comparison to a professional league that rakes in over $4 billion annually.
While it’s definitely a bad look for the NHL to have a team playing in such a small arena, it does have its perks. The small capacity arena creates a more intimate setting and passionate atmosphere. College games provide an exciting environment that is unmatched in sports.
ESPN will be carrying the Coyotes’ home opener at Mullett Arena on Friday night. Even though the dressing rooms aren’t ideal, we can’t wait to see the Yotes take the ice in their temporary new home.