Coyotes will return and prove how incompetent Alex Meruelo really was

Our next NHL franchise will be different. It will represent the best of us, along with our revenge.

It will prove that we have always been a great hockey city.

Our next NHL franchise will be worth the wait. We lost a talented homegrown team to a smaller market in Salt Lake City. But we have been freed from a bad owner, an uptight billionaire who ran with wild ideas while ignoring his bills and generally paying according to his own rules. Tidy and tidy.

Good owners use their fortunes to pursue a greater, more lasting form of wealth, the kind that comes with greatness and glory and championship parades. Bad owners can’t see past the money. They usually stick around for decades. They can poison a good sports city.

Alex Meruelo will be remembered as one of the worst. He connected with no one. He saw no value in political capital or public relations. He was evicted in Glendale and lost a vote in Tempe. He didn’t care, or didn’t know, that sports franchises are public trusts that must serve and reflect their communities, businesses that depend on cooperation and goodwill.

Real. How stupid does an owner have to be to allow a subordinate to shut out and insult Shane Doan, one of the greatest captains and brand ambassadors in the NHL?

Unbelievably, we’ve had two in Arizona. You probably remember a previous owner who sent an underqualified general manager over breakfast to fire Doan.

But only Meruelo could achieve what no other dark force ever could. He was the owner who brought Doan to another NHL franchise.

The incompetence is staggering, and you wonder how the ultra-rich can be so stupid. Are they blinded by greed? Or is it greed that makes them rich? Is it the bootlickers and sycophants who isolate their lives and nod their heads at every bad decision?

The next owner of the Coyotes has to be better. We need to find our hockey version of Mat Ishbia, who has already hit for the trifecta in the Valley. He replaced the maligned Robert Sarver; he spends a lot of money on basketball players; and has publicly pledged his stewardship to every sports fan in the Valley. He has shown the kind of awareness that you don’t always get from billionaires.

Our next NHL franchise will also face a difficult decision. Will they still be the Coyotes? Or will they be blessed with a completely new name? For most of their 28 years in the Valley, the Coyotes were a pit of dysfunction. When they became a topic of conversation in the Valley, it was about something scandalous or bizarre. As in, what have they done now?

With all due respect to the Kachina jersey, part of me wants to turn the brand into a smoking pile of ash. But maybe we’re doing the exact opposite. Maybe we’re embracing the ugliness of our history as a sign of our toughness and our resilience. After all, our hockey team left us. We’re not running away from anything.

Either way, our next NHL franchise will be different from the top down. They will be skating on a clean slate. We will accept nothing less.