Brenda Lacy of Tempe wore one of her Coyotes jerseys to Wednesday's unveiling of the team's new uniform and logo at Arizona Mills mall.
She has three more at home depicting the old “RoboCoyote'' logo — black ones, white ones, green ones — that she has collected over the team's first seven seasons in Arizona.
But after seeing the new brick-red-dominant, fierce-looking desert dog logo trotted out by the team just in time for the move to its Glendale arena, Lacy was ready to pull out her checkbook and update her hockey closet.
“I think it's very cool. I love the logo and the colors,'' Lacy said. “I've spent a lot of money on the old ones, but it was time for a change. It's kind of a rebirth for the team with a new arena and pretty much a new team. We're almost starting over.''
With about 1,000 fans applauding and howling, players such as Shane Doan, Daymond Langkow and Landon Wilson modeled the new uniforms — red the main color for home, and white for road — and even managing partner Wayne Gretzky slipped one over his head after some prodding from the crowd.
Sienna, green and purple have all been been retired from the team's color palate, with red, tan and black living on. The secondary “moon puck'' logo has survived and will be seen on the uniform pants, while a new shoulder patch features the state outline and colors of Arizona with “PHX'' stitched across the bottom.
Despite moving to Glendale, Coyotes vice president of sales and marketing Brian Byrnes said the team will also remain the “Phoenix Coyotes.''
Gretzky was among those who thought it was time to retire the old Picasso-influenced logo and multi-colored collar that introduced the NHL to Phoenix in 1996.
“The first night I met with (Coyotes owner Steve Ellman) about coming on board with the team (in 2000), my first question was, ‘Can we change the uniforms?' '' Gretzky said. “We just wanted something more traditional, with a basic color scheme that was at the same time more dynamic. I think most people will like it.''
Langkow said the Coyotes took some ribbing on the ice from opposing players in the past, especially regarding their third, alternate jersey that “kind of looked like a desert garden with the dancing cactus and the geckos.''
Even Doan, who has been with the team from the beginning and will replace Teppo Numminen as captain this season, thought it was time for a change.
“The old uniform kind of grew on me after a while, but the collar was a little much,'' Doan said. “This is a more traditional, simpler jersey and I like them a lot. I can't wait to see everyone wearing these in the dressing room before the first game.''
Wilson, who will return to the ice following eye surgery last winter, agreed. “A lot of people didn't know what the old one was supposed to be. I think this is a big step up. It's old school and I really like the colors. It's a tough-looking shirt; we'll have to back it up on the ice.''
Like all hockey sweaters, the new Coyotes jerseys come at a steep price. The replica jersey was selling for $91.75 after the unveiling, while the authentic game sweater, with stitched lettering, costs $216.
“Selling jerseys was way down the list of reasons behind this,'' said Coyotes president Doug Moss. “With the new arena, this was the perfect time to rebrand the team. The color scheme inside and outside the building matches the uniform. When you walk in, you'll know this is the home of the Phoenix Coyotes.''
A quick sampling of fans at the mall showed unanimous support for the change. People like the drawstring tops on the white road jersey, the numbers and lettering and most of all, the new logo.
“It shows intimidation. It looks like it's ready for a fight,'' said Scott Wynne of Phoenix. “This is 10 times better than the old one. It kind of looks like the (Detroit) Red Wings. I was worried what they might do, but it's a great choice.''