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Hockey fans think Tucson can support professional team - KVOA | KVOA.com | Tucson, Arizona

Hockey fans think Tucson can support professional team

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TUCSON – Hockey fans in Tucson believe there is a hidden demand for a professional team.

An American Hockey League franchise will likely play at the Tucson Convention Center next season. Almost 90 percent of National Hockey League players come out of the AHL.

The Arizona Coyotes want their minor league team closer to Glendale. The AHL has approved the sale. The Rio Nuevo Board has agreed to more than $3 million in TCC upgrades. The team just has to reach a lease agreement with the City of Tucson.

Almost every Saturday the Pima Street Hockey League plays free pick-up games on a rink next to Catalina High School.

Somebody told Dan Strack about the opportunity after seeing him wearing an outfit with a Buffalo Sabres logo.

“Been playing almost every Saturday night for the last 2 years,” Strack said, “and it's been a heck of a lot of good friends, lot of good times.”

Dan Caufield said he accidentally found the league in an internet search.

“Coming to Tucson, I really didn't know street hockey was around,” he said. “So it's a great opportunity to play hockey.”

Fans are not always visible, but they are very dedicated.

“Tucson has more transplants than anywhere,” Caufield said. “I mean, really, if you start looking around, a lot of people who call this home come from other parts.”

Many believe Tucson does have the passion for an AHL team.

“I think it's definitely here more than people realize,” Strack said. “And we're all very excited about this AHL team hopefully coming here. My son, he's probably more excited than I am. He thinks he'll be able to play hockey now.”

Pima Street Hockey League is always hoping for more players. They say people with any skill level can play even if they do not have equipment. More information is on their website.

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