On The Couch With Craig: Bea Wyatt and George Fallar
Two ardent and longtime Coyotes supporters step into the spotlight
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I have a longstanding connection with Bea Wyatt and George Fallar. Those of you who were around for IceArizona’s 2013 purchase of the Coyotes — including all of those contentious meetings in Glendale City Council chambers — know how much grassroots work that Wyatt and Fallar did to help keep the Coyotes in Arizona.
Over the years, I have interviewed them for various stories about the team or the organization, Desert Hockey Development, that they helped form to grow the game in the desert.
They have provided my family with travel recommendations, they have provided counsel during the more maddening years of Coyotes hockey (so, basically the past 11 years), Bea created the illustration that you see above for this feature, and they even donated a ramp for my soon-to-be 16-year-old dog Beau to make it easier for him to get in and out of the backdoor.
It was high time that I put Fallar and Wyatt on the couch. They have supported the team through thick and thin, they have supported my work for too many outlets to count and now, they finally have the floor.
Full names: Bea Wyatt, George Fallar
Birthplaces: Bea: Baltimore, Maryland, but grew up in Junction City, Ohio.
George: White Plains, New York
Current city of residence: Cave Creek, Arizona
Arizona history: George moved to Cave Creek in 1994; Bea in 1997.
Ages: 53, 67
Occupations: Owner of Bee Hive Support, a computer support company working with senior citizens; CTO of an electronic medical records company.
Hobbies: Listening to music and going to as many live shows as possible. Dining out. Occasional runs to Vegas for some shows and restaurants. Visiting U.S. National Parks.
Pandemic adopted hobbies: George: I’ve reverted to childhood and have been building model motorcycles and cars.
Bea: I have started quilting and making specialty quilted bags.
Little known fact about you guys: We are actually cyber ninjas.
(Editor’s note: I knew it!)
Describe how you became Coyotes fans and your involvement with the team and the growth of hockey over the years (yes, we’ve got all day).
George: Our house was between a farm (with a great sledding hill) and a big pond. So, we played hockey on the pond. I played until my speed wasn’t enough to compensate for my lack of bulk, and have been a Rangers fan forever, although attending many games wasn’t in the budget.
When the Coyotes came to town, a co-worker and I went to the ticket selection events with the idea we’d split season tickets. I chickened out when the budgetary hit seemed too big for me at the time and honestly didn’t follow the team closely afterwards. Our middle son, the biggest sports fan in the family, and I finally went to a Coyotes game when they moved to Glendale and that reminded me how much I missed NHL hockey.
Once it looked as if the Coyotes were moving and there was political activity in Glendale to assure the City Council would no longer work with the NHL and the Coyotes to fill their arena, fans were ready to get involved and show support for keeping the team in place. It was really a rapid infusion of political activism of a large group of Coyotes fans who buckled down and did some real work to push back on the opposition to the measures that would result in the team sticking around.
It was a great experience being part of that group and that activity; a lot of lifelong friendships were made in those months.
Once the team had stable ownership, it seemed natural to keep the good times rolling. Jo Jo Fraser had an idea to get roller hockey going strong again in the Valley, and that morphed into Desert Hockey Development to get more kids in more neighborhoods started in hockey with a zero-budget entry into street hockey. With the help of the Coyotes, particularly (Coyotes Senior Director of Hockey Development) Matt Shott, our group of former parking-lot political activists held street hockey clinics around the Valley and even an eight-week summer tournament inside Gila River Arena covered by none other than Craig Morgan, and with a special appearance from (former Coyote and current Blackhawk) Connor Murphy.
We have a lot of great stories from that time. Bea and I are grateful to have been a part of that episode and the group of people involved.
Bea: I remember watching the Miracle on Ice 1980 Olympic Gold Medal game and it was amazing. But honestly, I get jazzed about every sport during the Olympics. I became a hockey fan in Glendale.
It was the 2007-2008 season, I remember coming to a few games that year, and it was fun. George was teaching me the game as we watched the action on the ice. I was happy when they scored and sad when we lost. I think it was starting to become a ‘we’ at that point. The boys didn't make the playoffs that year but it was a fun year. Martin Hanzal was a rookie. Zbyněk Michálek was blocking anything that came near him, throwing his body on the ice and in the line of fire, and Keith Yandle (my favorite d-man) was in his sophomore season. But the game that made me a hockey fan, the one that really sealed the deal, was the last game of the season. We were playing the Dallas Stars. Rookie Dan Carcillo scored his first hat trick. You would have thought the guy just won the Stanley Cup the way the team celebrated with him. Well, it was amazing. And I fell in love with the team and the game.
We got involved with the team like George said, when we thought they might leave. I knew we had to do something. So we tried. We were very fortunate to have a lot of like-minded friends who wanted to keep the team, too. We learned a lot — too much — about local politics, but we realized the tough position the budget cuts were having on the citizens of Glendale, and we decided to help. A group of AMAZING hockey fans came together, formed a charitable organization and started to provide free entry-level ball hockey to kids in low-income areas. We were so incredibly fortunate to have the opportunity to work with the Coyotes, and their amazing youth hockey development guy, Matt Shott. Working with Matt and the entire Coyotes organization has been pretty awesome. The generosity of spirit of the players, staff and management has been amazing.
One example: At a fan meet-and-greet, I ran into then-GM Don Maloney. We had a maybe 10-minute conversation, and I am sure I mentioned Yandle, because there was talk of a trade involving him at the time, he had just been at the All-Star Game. The next fall, just before the season started, there was a town hall meeting at the Ice Den in Scottsdale. Don saw me and asked me to come see him. He asked that I come to his office the next day or so; he had something for me. When I picked up the bag from his office I almost lost it because it was obvious that he remembered a conversation with me from a day when he spoke to probably hundreds of fans. He gave me a signed Keith Yandle All-Star jersey to help fund DHD.
Oh, and working with the boys to build a playground for the kids in Glendale was great, too. There are just too many experiences to mention.
What is/are your favorite Coyotes memory/memories and what details do you remember from it/them?
George: (Shane) Doaner’s hat trick was the best moment I’ve ever experienced at a sporting event. Watching the team, especially Ray Whitney, make sure he at least had a shot at making it happen was mesmerizing and the payoff was an emotional explosion.
Who doesn’t love Shane Doan?
Bea: The 2010 Playoffs: Shane Doan's face in Game 3 against the Red Wings. He separated his shoulder in that series.
Other favorite memories are the 2012 playoffs (run to the Western Conference Final).
There was also an L.A. game in February, I don't remember the season, but George was home sick with the flu, our daughter Taylor and I went to the game, and after the first period, the game was going soooo badly. We considered leaving, but decided we would stay for one more period. It was a good thing, because I don't know what Tip did to the guys in the locker room, but when they came out for the second period, they were absolutely on fire. The "Beat LA" chant in the arena must have lifted the roof, it was thunderous.
What are your favorite family hockey traditions?
George: We tried to get the whole family together for a Coyotes game as close to Thanksgiving as possible.
We’re big Thanksgiving fans, it’s actually our favorite holiday because there’s no pressure for any gifting and the star attraction is a big meal together. It’s also the holiday most likely to get kids home even after they’re out on their own. So, adding a hockey game to the mix was a natural progression. We know we enjoy it and the kids seem to as well.
Another tradition that really hasn’t taken hold well for obvious reasons is a Coyotes versus Avs rivalry. One of our daughters introduced her then-boyfriend, now husband to hockey on a date in Denver at a Coyotes-Avs game. He was hooked on hockey and her pretty quickly, and the rest is history. He is strictly a Colorado fan and even owns and wears a freakin’ Nordiques hat. So, we (including our daughter) would really appreciate some chirping rights to really cement the tradition into something fun, but, well, you know. Her husband is a stand-up guy, serving his country in the Army. So, we know he knows how to chirp. To his great credit, he has been very polite and has restrained himself from letting us know how lopsided the rivalry really is. We, however, will not show the same restraint if this worm ever turns.
We also had a brief family tradition of gluttony on dollar hot dog night. We have attached a picture of the GOAT, Dakota, on the night he ate 14 hot dogs (with buns) that actually may have included ketchup. That was the end of the brief family tradition for obvious reasons.
Bea: The Thanksgiving weekend games. We gather as many family members as possible and cheer for our extended family, the Coyotes.
Oh, and going back to the boyfriend-husband rivalry, the first time we ever met our daughter's boyfriend/future husband was at Thanksgiving, and at the game that weekend, Coyotes took an early lead, but the Avs killed us.
You guys love to travel as much as I do. Once it’s safe, where to?
George: We had an abbreviated stay in London a couple years ago on the way to Germany to see our new granddaughter enter the world (not literally, we were out in the hall of the hospital at some godforsaken hour of the morning), and we need to get back there to do it correctly. The airline damaged my scooter and we lost a day in the airport until I lucked into fixing it myself. Then Ireland on the same trip, if we can. The next trip will be Italy for a longer stay.
Domestic trips to see the kids and grandkids could happen at any time, so we could make a run up to Yellowstone and the (Grand) Tetons.
Bea: Is everywhere too specific? We both want to go back to the UK and do it right, then jump over to Ireland, hit the ancestral sod, but first trip will most likely be back east to see the grand-babies.
Since you are both from ‘back east,’ what do you miss about life in the other half of the country, if anything?
George: A lot of both of our families are back east. It would really be great to see them more often. I miss autumn and the Adirondacks. Other than that, it’s food. There’s nothing like a New York deli. Lobster and clams and fresh seafood. New York Chinese food restaurants. Little Italy restaurants. Bagels. I have to stop now before I drool into my keyboard.
Bea: I Love the west. The East Coast doesn't have anything on the mountains, but the autumn leaves are so amazing. I grew up on a farm in Ohio, along the side of the road that ran the length of the farm were tons of raspberry and blackberry bushes. My brothers and I would go for a walk and pick berries. We would come home with a bucket of berries and arms full of scratches. Easily growing things is pretty cool, as is grass damp with dew and lightning bugs (fireflies).
You guys have already provided me with a couple of solid recs. What's good on TV that most people might have missed but shouldn't?
Amend (SUPER AWESOME), Alice in Borderland, Serpent (creepy, timeline jumps around too much), Secret City, and Dark. (Netflix).
Mr. In-Between (FX and Hulu) new season starting soon, catch up with the first two seasons would be a good idea.
Rosehaven: All you want to know about the real estate business in Tasmania (Sundance TV).
Brassic 2: Joe Gilgun is always worth watching (Hulu).
30 Coins, Frayed, Beartown (hockey!), (HBO Max).
We watch a lot of foreign series. I would say we have been working on our language skills, but we have the subtitles on (sometimes even with the hardcore Brit shows).
Follow Craig Morgan on Twitter: @CraigSMorgan