The Phoenix Coyotes are an NHL franchise in the Pacific Division of the Western Conference.
The Coyotes began their existence as the Winnipeg Jets, founded in 1972 and playing in the WHA. The Jets were very successful in the WHA, winning a number of league titles, and earning a spot in the NHL when the two leagues merged in 1979. The Jets lost much of their success after moving to the NHL, remaining strong enough to make the playoffs, but rarely winning playoff series. The increase in salaries for average players hit the Jets very hard, and forced them to move to a newer market with more potential to be economically successful. Interestingly enough, current owner Wayne Gretzky may have paved the way for the Jets to be relocated to Phoenix, after the time he spent in LA, helping to bring hockey to the Southwestern United States.
The Coyotes enjoyed regular season success almost immediately, finishing above .500 and making the playoffs five times out of the first six years they were in Phoenix. The sharp play of Nikolai Khabibulin, with stars like Jeremy Roenick, Mike Gartner, Keith Tkachuk and Shane Doan in front of him, carried the Coyotes to consistent 90+ point finishes. Unfortunately, the same syndrome that haunted the Jets stuck with the Coyotes, and Phoenix has yet to win a single playoff series. Since 2002, the Coyotes have suffered through a number of disappointing seasons with no playoff appearances. Gretzky has done much to try and rebuild the young team, and the Coyotes actually made strides in the 2008 offseason. The drafting of Viktor Tikhonov and the acquisition of superstar Olli Jokinen and goalie Ilya Bryzgalov should help the Coyotes begin their return to becoming a competitive franchise again.
The Coyotes play out of the Jobing.com Arena in Glendale, AZ which seats 17,799.
Stanley Cups won: none
Notable Players: Sean Burke, Shane Doan, Tie Domi, Bob Essensa, Mike Gartner, Dale Hawerchuk, Phil Housley, Bobby Hull, Nikolai Khabibulin, Teppo Numminen, Ed Olcyzk, Jeremy Roenick, Serge Savard, Teemu Selanne, Thomas Steen, Keith Tkachuk, Alexei Zhamnov