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by Don Schwartz / Arizona Coyotes
Pucks gave way to phones on Wednesday morning as the Coyotes reached out and touched fans throughout the Valley. Paired with members of the team’s sales and customer-service departments, Coyotes players personally connected with many of their most dedicated supporters.

The players took a brief break from training camp to assist the staff in spreading the word about the upcoming season. Players chatted with those looking to become a season-ticket holder or partial-plan holder and encouraged them to jump aboard for the exciting ride in 2008-09.

“People have been pretty excited,” forward Viktor Tikhonov said. “Everybody’s been asking questions about the last few games we’ve had, which has been pretty cool. It’s been a whole lot of fun. This is my first time doing this, so there’s a little bit of an adrenaline rush to it.”

Tikhonov has been impressing his coaches throughout his first NHL training camp, but his counterpart for the day was also impressed by the Coyotes’ rookie and his sales skills.

“I’m watching out for this guy,” Coyotes Senior Account Executive Ryan Winkler said. “He may be able to sneak a job away from me, he’s been that good.”

While some fans will return home to a surprise phone message from the likes of Shane Doan, Peter Mueller or Kyle Turris, others took advantage of the unique opportunity to purchase tickets directly from the players they’ll be watching from their new seats. Current season-ticket holders were also treated to the chance to have a Coyotes player as their temporary ticket representative.

Though their time in the office was brief, it was an experience that reminded the players of just how many people work behind the scenes to make Coyotes hockey happen.

“We’re normally so focused on what we do on the ice that we don’t get a chance to look at the big picture,” defenseman Kurt Sauer said. “You see that there are a lot of people making this thing work and go. We’re very appreciative of that.”

That appreciation gained off the ice also extended to their primary job and probably made the grind of training camp seem a lot easier.

“I don’t think I’m cut out for this,” Sauer joked about his desk job for the day. “Luckily I’m much better on the ice, that’s for sure.”

Photos by Norm Hall/Phoenix Coyotes

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