phoenix coyotesThe Phoenix Coyotes new management group is doing things a bit differently down in the desert.

The team announced Wednesday that it will now allow tailgating outside Arena prior to all weekend home games this season — a rarity in the hockey world.

Six parking lots will open four hours prior to puck drop at the Glendale rink, hopefully creating a festive atmosphere that will attract greater fan turnout in a region that is far from a hockey hotbed.

Phoenix has ranked in the bottom two in the NHL in attendance in each of the last four seasons, including averaging just 13,923 fans per game in last year’s lockout-shortened campaign.

“We are excited to introduce tailgating prior to all Coyotes weekend home games this season,” Coyotes president and CEO Anthony LeBlanc said in a statement. “We are very fortunate to live in a city that has such great weather during the hockey season so we are encouraging fans to come early to our weekend games and enjoy the great atmosphere outside Arena. We are continually looking for new ways to enhance the game experience for our fans.”

While commonplace in professional and college football, tailgating is rarely encouraged prior to NHL or NBA games. This is partially due to the fact that the majority of those leagues’ arenas are located in urban settings (tailgating at TD Garden would have to be done in a parking garage, for example). But after coming dangerously close to moving to Seattle or Montreal over the offseason, the Coyotes are a team that would benefit from a little innovation.

Photo via Facebook/The Phoenix Coyotes