PHOTO: Visiting Red Wings Fans Can't Even Help Sparse Phoenix Hockey Crowds

If I were a hockey fan in the Phoenix area, I'm not sure I'd go to a game either. The Coyotes aren't an awful team on the ice or anything -- they're hanging around in the very difficult Western Conference playoff race, and they picked up a big win against Detroit on Monday night at Jobing.com Arena.

But it's sort of like the Atlanta syndrome, right? The ownership is atrocious -- or, in this case, it might as well be non-existent -- and the constant threats of relocation are enough to scare you away from committing your time to the cause. Being a fan is an investment. You're putting in your time and your money, and you hope to be rewarded with a championship at some point.

That's was the catch-22 for fans of the Atlanta Thrashers, and it's the problem that faces any franchise with ongoing ownership strife and relocation as a potential solution to those issues.

The fans need to invest for the team to have a chance at sticking around, but the fans aren't going to invest without assurances that the team will be around beyond the end of the season.

That's how you get pictures like this one from Monday's game at the arena in Glendale. Games against the Red Wings at Jobing.com Arena usually elicit larger crowds than usual, thanks to the influx of Wings fans who reside in the Phoenix area and travel to games. But not even that uptick in attendance help to fill out the cavernous arena.

Via Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press:

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It's pretty sad. Announced attendance was 12,687, actually up from the season average of 11,685.

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