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The Arizona Coyotes domino effect; What the Coyotes move could do to youth hockey

Posted at 7:38 PM, Apr 24, 2024

TUCSON, Ariz. — The Tucson Roadrunners began playoffs Wednesday, the first round against the Calgary Wranglers.

While the theme for the playoffs is a white-out, white-out can also mean erase.

Something no one wants to see happen to the Junior Roadrunners, a youth hockey organization that could get hurt if its AHL team moves to Tempe.

"It was heartbreak, heartbreak for all the Jr. Roadrunners," Junior Roadrunners Director, Ryan DeJoe Says.

The Roadrunners potential move to Tempe is raising questions. What would that mean for youth hockey in Tucson?

Junior Roadrunners President, David Honecker remembers his first Roadrunners game back in 2016.

Now there's a chance this season could be the team's last in Tucson.

"It's a memory that sticks with you for a lifetime and not having it is definitely going to keep kids from playing," Honecker said.

Initially, there was concern if the Roadrunners left, would the ice go too, but TCC's General Manager, Glenn Grabski said no matter what, this ice is here to stay.

"But for this town and these kids to lose their team, that's still going to hurt even when our program goes on," DeJoe said.

Junior Roadrunners director, Ryan DeJoe says this isn't just about youth hockey. It's about the Tucson community as a whole.

"The two wrongs don't make a right," DeJoe said. "Moving the Roadrunners up there is not going to heal the wound in Phoenix of losing the Coyotes it just creates a big one down here."

Fans in Tucson have shown support with a petition, to keep the Roadrunners here.

"Hopefully this community outreach will let the Meruelo group know how important this team is to Tucson," DeJoe said.

Organizers said they will send the petition to the AHL Board of Governors when they feel they have enough signatures.


Erin Patterson is a reporter for KGUN 9. She's agraduate of the University of Alabama with a Bachelor’s in News Media with a Sports Concentration. Erin recently obtained her Master's Degree in Sports Journalism from Arizona State University at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism, where she gained experience a sports reporter, anchor and producer. Share your story ideas and important issues with Erin by emailing