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Glendale mayor wants new Coyotes-related New Year's

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- There's the ball drop in Time's Square and the Boot Drop in Prescott, Ariz.

Now, Glendale's Mayor, Jerry Weiers, wants his city to start its own New Year's Eve tradition centered around hockey: Weiers is proposing that the city drop a giant hockey puck in Westgate City Center at midnight on New Year's Eve.

Weiers was in the minority earlier this month when the Glendale City Council voted 4-3 to approve an arena lease deal for Arena. He believed the city couldn't afford the 15-year, $225 million agreement that keeps the Phoenix Coyotes playing in Glendale.

Once the vote was taken, Weiers immediately made a pledge to the team.

"I'm going to go out of my way and work as hard as I can to make the Coyotes successful," he said. "If the Coyotes are successful, my city is successful."

Now he's pushing to have the Coyotes' New Year's home game turned into a celebration.

"There's a game that night," said Weiers. "It starts at 7 p.m. I expect to have a full house at the arena. The game will end about 10 or 10:30. If I can keep those folks there for another hour-and-a-half or two hours, have them spend their money at Westgate, and have some fun with it, why not?"

Weiers explained what he has in mind for midnight.

"Why not do a 10-foot diameter great big hockey puck with two 40-foot high hockey sticks crossed. The puck drops, and when it hits the bottom, it lights up and says 2014."

He said this is just a theory so far. Weiers didn't say how much it would cost, but said the city would sell sponsorships for the puck drop.

Weiers believes the team is on board with the plan.

"I called Anthony LeBlanc of the Coyotes, and he loved the idea," he said.

LeBlanc is one of the partners in Renaissance Sports and Entertainment, which is taking over ownership of the team.

The National Hockey League has not yet announced the 2013-2014 schedule. A spokesman for the Coyotes said that it appears that the team will have a home game on New Year's Eve, but it is not yet known who the opponent will be.

Weiers is hoping to make the New Year's Eve puck drop an annual tradition in Glendale.

About the Author

Years with the company: I started on January 2, 2006.

Education: I was born in San Antonio, Texas, but we moved to Phoenix when I was one-year-old in 1957. I grew up here and graduated from Alhambra High School and attended Phoenix College.

Family: I live in north Phoenix with my wife Rene' and my son Devin.

Favorite food: Lots of favorite food, but our favorite restaurant is Fajitas.

Favorite spot in Arizona: The Little America Hotel in Flagstaff.

Favorite news memory: We have to go back to October 15, 1979. I was a country music air personality at KROP Radio in Brawley, California, when we had a 6.7 earthquake. Thankfully, there were no deaths and only minor injuries, but the entire community was pretty freaked out and listening to the station on their transistor radios. I would not want to go through an earthquake again, but it sure was a great night to work in radio and see how it can make a difference in people's lives.

First job: Working as a stringer for 'The Arizona Republic' at high school football games. My first real job was flipping burgers at the old Sandy's Hamburgers at 51st Avenue and Indian School Road. My first radio job was as announcer at KALJ radio in Yuma in 1977.

First concert: My Dad took me to see Jimmy Dean at the Arizona State Fairgrounds in the 1960's. It was before the Coliseum was built. The only thing I remember is Jimmy Dean singing his big hit "Big Bad John."

Favorite sports team: Phoenix Roadrunners minor league hockey. My dad took me to a game when I was in grade school, and I was hooked. I wanted to be a radio hockey play-by-play man. I used to take my cassette recorder and sit up in the rafters of the Coliseum and do play-by-play. It was great later in life to also take my son to Roadrunners games. Too bad the team just folded, I'll miss them. (Going to the Coyotes is fun, but they're not "my" team.)

Outside interests: My family and I are active in our church - Shiloh Community Church in Phoenix. Devin is a high school student at Scottsdale Christian Academy. He plays on the baseball, football, and basketball teams and sings in the choir. Obviously, we keep busy trying to go to all his events! We enjoy going to movies, sporting events, and long road trips. We like to vacation at the Beach Cottages in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego. And I love to play catch, basketball, football with my son.


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