Friday, October 28, 2022

Welcoming Mullett Arena with a history of NHL teams playing in weird places

Coyotes fans — it’s here. The first home game of the season has finally arrived, meaning it’s time for the first NHL game ever played at Mullett Arena.

Are you sick of the jokes from other fan bases yet?

I’m guessing you are. You probably got there, oh, roughly three seconds after the whole plan became public. You certainly got there once we found out the place was going to be called Mullett. Business up front, party out back, am I right? (Tumbleweed blows by.) Thanks, don’t forget to tip your server.

And sure, you knew it was coming. It’s not an ideal situation, to put it politely. Mullett Arena seats 5,000, which feels ridiculous for what’s supposed to be a big-league venue. After decades of arena drama that this franchise just can’t shake, this feels like the saddest chapter of them all. Even if it’s only temporary, isn’t this kind of embarrassing?

Maybe. But here’s a secret that some of those chortling fan bases don’t want to talk about: You’re not alone. The Arizona Coyotes are far from the only franchise to play NHL hockey in an unusual venue. Sure, old-school hockey fans love to preach about the majesty of the Forum or the Gardens or wherever, and those buildings really were great. But they’re not the whole story, and the NHL has a long history of playing hockey in unusual places under less-than-ideal circumstances.

Luckily, weird arena stuff is kind of my thing. So today, let’s remember some of those buildings that have hosted NHL hockey, and maybe even see how they stack up to the mighty Mullett.

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