Fans congregated for the Coyotes' annual Town Hall on Friday evening at the Renaissance Hotel Glendale prior to the organization's development camp intrasquad scrimmage at Gila River Arena.
Emceed by play-by-play announcer Matt McConnell, President and CEO Ahron Cohen and President of Hockey Operations and General Manager John Chayka answered questions submitted by fans as a bit of hockey utopia presented itself in the thick of summer.
A myriad of topics were covered and elaborated on, including the plan to trial new home game start times, additions to the concession stands, expectations regarding free agency, and an expanded line of Kachina merchandise.
"For us, we never want there to be any downtime on people thinking or talking about the Coyotes," Cohen said afterward. "This is a nice week for us because we're talking about the future of the Coyotes with development camp here, we're seeing the next generation of players that are going to play for us, so we want to connect with the fans and talk about the future of the organization, where things are going this upcoming season and beyond. It's just a nice way for us to continue to have that connectivity with our fans and reach out to them and hear about what's on their mind, share our insights, and how we're seeing things moving forward."
Of course, when asked about the plans for the remainder of the offseason on the hockey side of things, whether it be signings or any additional moves that may impact the 2019-20 roster, Chayka couldn't give away too many details. He did, though, thoroughly enjoy having another opportunity to connect with the fanbase.
"I like this stuff, anytime the team asks me to do it I'm obviously available to communicate with the fans and answer their questions," he said. "Sometimes they have questions that you don't even think of, I enjoy it, it's an open forum, there's no questions that offend me or that I don't want to answer or anything like that, I just give the most honest answers I can, it's fun. "
One of the hottest topics, which also happened to be one of the first questions asked, was an inquiry of the impending change in ownership, the majority sale of the team to Alex Meruelo.
"As everybody knows, we had a Board of Governors vote last week that was very positive, everybody throughout the entire league was very excited about Mr. Meruelo coming in here," Cohen said. "We're expecting to close [the sale] in July and everything's moving along just fine, so everything's good."
Along with providing a general timeline on the topic's business aspect to the fans in attendance, Cohen added some admirable insight into his experiences with Mr. Meruelo thus far and the direction he sees the proposed new owner taking the organization.
"Myself and John and a few others with the organization have had a chance to talk to Mr. Meruelo, his family and his team over the past few months here, and what I'll tell you is: he's incredibly competitive, he wants to win, he loves the trajectory that this team is on and really wants to make this a great sports organization."
"In spending time with people who work for him, you just get a sense of how much they respect what he's trying to do," Cohen added. "He's a man of great passion and we're really excited for what this means for the Coyotes organization."
At the end of the day, and the event, it all came to one thing: the transparency with the fans - the bloodline of the organization.
"I loved it all, I loved the engagement with the fans reaching out and wanting to participate to hear our feedback, and I just think it's all great," Cohen said in recollect. "It's a great way for our fans to share things that are on their mind and communicate how we see things."
Over 4,000 fans attended the intrasquad scrimmage that followed the Town Hall, putting a fantastic cap on a phenomenal night.
"We are thrilled to see our great Coyotes fans coming out in full force to see the future of our team," Cohen said. "I think the dramatic increase in attendance is a testament to what this community sees in the trajectory of this team."