At the Rink with the Tucson Roadrunners

Christian Brauer and Ben Scott
December 7, 2022

When Tucson, Arizona comes to mind, your first thought may not particularly be professional hockey. Tucked in this beautiful city at Tucson Arena, houses the Tucson Roadrunners, a farm team under the Arizona Coyotes Organization. Founded in 2016, this team serves as a development squad for players looking to make the step to the National Hockey League. Since their founding they have accumulated a fanbase across the area, doing a lot of work in the community and providing a fun game-day atmosphere for their supporters. 

Going to a Game

When we arrived at the stadium for the Friday night lights the atmosphere was electric. We immediately noticed the fans were decked out in all the Roadrunners accessories they could find; meanwhile one of us was in a Michigan football shirt. The fans themselves were all over the place.

We were pleasantly surprised at the number of fans that the Roadrunners attained. It also helped that the night we went happened to be veterans night, meaning all veterans get in free of charge.

As we walked through the middle section of the stadium, where all the concession stands and shops were located, we stopped a couple of local fans and asked if we could get an interview. Most of the fans were willing to do the interview and excited to show their Roadrunner spirit. We asked questions such as “How long have you been a Roadrunner fan?”, “What’s your favorite thing about coming to these games?”, and “How do you feel about the atmosphere in this stadium?”.

Some fans had been loyal for up to 15-16 years while others had just started following the team over the past couple of years. For the fans that had been watching for years it was cool to hear how the fan base has developed so substantially rising from almost nothing. When it came to the favorite aspect of the games, fan Bradley Keen said, “I love how engaged I feel with the local community because everyone is coming together to support Tucson, I also love watching the Roadrunners win!”. This is great to hear and we definitely felt the same energy when we walked into that stadium. 

Roadrunners In the Community

Last season, the team made nearly 100 appearances in the community, showing their support for fans and also donating tickets, jerseys, and even cash to non-profit organizations. This engagement shows that the Roadrunners care about their city, and their fans, and we believe plays a role in the increase in fans. Their efforts in the community adopted them the label, Roadrunners Give Back, which is a branch of their parent teams group, The Arizona Coyotes Foundation. Through their website you are able to do many things, including the Hero of the Game and Scoreboard Messages on game day, and outside of game-day you can submit requests for donations, rent out Dusty The Roadrunner, their mascot, for parties and events, and many different types of auctions for players gear and collectables. These auctions help support local initiatives and charities. 

The Roadrunners do a great job at engaging their fans and the numbers have shown an increase in average fans per game, raising to just under 5000 per game this season. Some upcoming game-day promotions include Faith and Family Night, Military Appreciation Night, and $2 Twos Night, which is 2 dollar beer and popcorn. On Wednesdays, kids are allowed free admission, and other events are held all year during their home games. For a city dominated by college sports, this increase shows that hockey can hold its own in the Sonoran.


Ben McDonald is a student at the University of Arizona majoring is Business.

Christian Brauer is from Buffalo, NY, currently majoring in Pre-Business. He is currently employed with the Tucson Roadrunners on Equipment Staff.