A professional announcement and a thank you to my AZ Coyotes Insider subscribers

I hope you will follow me to PHNX Sports for the best Coyotes coverage in the Valley

There is no sense in burying the lede. This is my final Coyotes story for AZ Coyotes Insider. It is not, however, my final story on the Coyotes beat. I have joined PHNX Sports, as I announced just a short while ago via Twitter and the PHNX Sports website.

This was a difficult decision. I have enjoyed building the AZCI community through this newsletter over the past 14 months. I have enjoyed taking more risks and exploring new forms of content that I wasn’t able to do within the constraints of past outlets for which I worked. And I have to admit, after working for seven media outlets since the dissolution of the East Valley Tribune in 2009, I was gun shy about joining another one.

None of my previous outlets committed fully to covering the Coyotes; at least not the way I felt the team should be covered. Only The Athletic came close. So why take the leap and risk alienating all of you who have supported me so kindly, generously and vigorously since The Athletic all but abandoned Arizona in June 2020? Please jump on over to my welcome column at PHNX Sports and let me provide a fuller explanation of those reasons. Here are the broad brushstrokes.

I have told you several times in mailbags that I missed the collaboration that The Athletic afforded me. That outlet’s NHL staff is superlative — a handpicked collection of the best people in each market. That pool of talent helped me develop more refined ideas, conduct more exhaustive reporting and build the sort of camaraderie that I couldn’t possibly manage in my AZCI silo.

Then there’s the content. AZCI was all about the written word. PHNX will be that and so much more — much of which is detailed in the aforementioned welcome column.

Oh, and have I mentioned how much I missed having an extra set of eyes pore over my stories before they are published? As much as I appreciate all of my subscriber-editors, it’s a job you shouldn't have to do. If I need someone to look over a story now, I won’t have to bug my wife or an ex-colleague.

I want to stress how thankful I am to all of you who subscribed to AZCI. You turned a frightening transition period into a soft and sustainable landing. I am eternally grateful to each of you.

At the behest of Substack co-founder Hamish McKenzie, I am keeping this site active for other forms of writing; there just won’t be any Coyotes content. I owe Hamish a massive debt of gratitude for his help and encouragement in this venture. All subsequent content on the site will be free, and yes, I owe a lot of founding members a session on the immensely popular series, On The Couch With Craig. Maybe I’ll carry that over to PHNX because, like AZCI, it is all about community, and I think we have built a strong one here.

As for your subscriptions, you will all be reimbursed in short order. Substack has made that process simple. 

As for PHNX Sports, we have big plans, including Coyotes coverage the likes of which you have never seen in this market. And we’re making it easy for AZCI subscribers to join PHNX. I hope you will take the leap with me once again.