The Times podcast: Coyotes go urban; humans freak out
Mar 16, 2014 at 12:01 AM
By Chris Mann
On the morning of Feb. 2, the NHL’s Arizona Coyotes were in the midst of one of the strangest pre-season showings in recent memory.
They were in the desert, at T-Mobile Arena in downtown Phoenix, preparing for a game that would be televised by NBC for the first time ever.
The team was scheduled to play the Colorado Avalanche, a team it had played in the past five seasons. But the Avs hadn’t played there since the lockout ended, in the middle of the 2012 season.
The Coyotes were slated to play the Avs at 7:30 p.m., and a handful of them were gathered on the main concourse outside the arena, in full-out dress uniforms and helmets, their orange and white Coyotes jerseys emblazoned with the word “Coyotes” on the front.
A handful of others were wearing plain, orange helmets with a white “Coyotes” logo on the front. They were standing around wearing the teams’ regular-season jerseys, looking like people who were on their way to a job interview, or heading to a football game.
But the first person to step off the concourse and into the arena was not a player or a coach or a member of the front office. It was a woman.
She was carrying a black garbage bag with a clear window in it, and wearing the team’s white T-shirt, tucked into a pair of white skinny jeans. She looked like a homeless person, but she also could have been a person of some sort.
She had been standing outside the arena for more than an hour. I didn’t bother asking her why she was there, and she didn’t volunteer any information. She just walked through the doors and into the building, and the doors shut behind her.
It was like the door had slammed on someone who was inside, or the wind had come and blown them out.
The next thing I knew, another person was standing in the lobby, looking toward the doors, trying to figure out what had just happened.
When the woman walked inside the