Fans turn out for save the Coyotes rally Staff

5/17/2009 2:15:19 AM

On Saturday fans of the Phoenix Coyotes turned out for a rally in an attempt to save the embattled team.

The gathering took place at a restaurant called the Native New Yorker. One report estimated the total attendance at 500, while other media outlets guessed half of that.

"The media was saying we'd be lucky to get 50 people. But we've got plenty of people here," Travis Harr, a member of the Save the Coyotes Coalition told the Phoenix New Times.

Many fans carried signs and one depicted Jim Balsillie's head on the body of a vulture.

"He doesn't care about hockey. He wants his own team, and he'll do anything to get it," said Bill Morrison about potential Coyotes owner BlackBerry CEO Jim Balsillie.

"Hamilton can't support a team in the CFL, give them two losing seasons in the NHL and they'll be packing up and moving somewhere else anyway," one fan at the rally told CTV.

"I'm passionate about hockey," season ticket holder Scott Busby told the East Valley Tribune. "When my wife and I make our choice with what to do with our discretionary income, it's going to Coyotes games."

"It would be devastating to me if they leave," said Bob Epstein to the Tribune. "I know it's all about business, but this is my sport."

The newspaper also reported that there were no employees of the Coyotes in attendance.

The fate of the team is currently in the hands of a bankruptcy court judge.

On Saturday, court documents surfaced that stated NHL commissioner Gary Bettman would prefer the Coyotes moved to Winnipeg instead of Hamilton. In 1996, the Winnipeg Jets moved to Phoenix and became the Coyotes.