Phoenix Coyotes

Wed, 18 Mar 2009 04:33

History of Phoenix Coyotes

Information about the NHL team Phoenix Coyotes.

The Phoenix Coyotes are one of the teams in the NHL or National Hockey League. They were established in 1972 as the Winnipeg Jets. During their early years, the Jets were part of the World Hockey Association. In the seven seasons of the WHA, the Jets would win three championship trophies and would reach the finals five times. When the WHA merged with the rival NHL in 1979, the Winnipeg Jets were one of the four teams admitted alongside the Edmonton Oilers, the New England Whalers, and the Quebec Nordiques. However, a rule regarding new teams made the Jets give up most of its best players so they finished last in the league in their first two seasons.

The team would work its way back into title contention as they made the playoffs 11 times in the next 15 seasons. Yet, they were in the same division with the Edmonton Oilers and the Calgary Flames, who had a lineup of very strong players. The Jets would only win two playoff series since the playoffs had a structure wherein the Jets must play either the Oilers or the Flames, or even both to make it to the Conference Finals. Adding to the problems of the Winnipeg Jets are the rising salaries and the small market in their area. Team owners would be forced to move the club to Phoenix, starting in the 1996-1997 season.

The move to Phoenix

Now known as the Phoenix Coyotes, the team would lose stars such as Teemu Selanne and Alexei Zhamnov. However, they would get Jeremy Roenick from the Chicago Blackhawks. The Phoenix Coyotes boasted a lineup of Roenick, Keith Tkachuk, and Rick Tocchet. These three would lead the team in their offensive strategy. The Phoenix Coyotes also had the services of Shane Doan, Oleg Tverdovsky, and Nikolai Khabibulin. With their roster, the Phoenix Coyotes would get to the playoffs almost every year. They would also have consecutive winning seasons, thus making them popular with fans.

The Phoenix Coyotes would also become the first team in the NHL to score 90 points in one season. Although the feat in itself is remarkable, the Phoenix Coyotes would not reach the playoffs during that season. The Coyotes also had problems with their home stadium. Upon arrival in Phoenix, the team played in America West Arena. The place was not ideal for hockey games since the area had seats that are unable to see some parts of the ice. By 2003, the Phoenix Coyotes would move to the Glendale Arena, where the seats have been optimized for all hockey games.

Yet, due to the team’s disappointing playoff losses, fan support had declinined over the years. Thus, finances have become a burden for the Phoenix Coyotes. In 2001, team owners would sell the Phoenix Coyotes to Steve Ellman, a developer in the area. The team would also be part-owned by Wayne Gretzky, the legendary NHL player. To change their luck to a better direction, the Phoenix Coyotes would change their logos and uniforms. They would also have Gretzky as their main coach starting in the 2005 season. Yet, many doubted Gretzky’s coaching abilities since he had never been a coach in his career.

Getting fan support

The Phoenix Coyotes would try to attract more people to support their team by signing Brett Hull. He is the son of former Jet Bobby Hull, a player with his jersey number already retired by the team. However, the team had bigger problems than fan support as they kept on losing in the NHL. Thus, before the start of the 2007-2008 season, the Phoenix Coyotes further developed talented players such as Peter Mueller and Martin Hanzal. They would also trade Kevyn Adams for Radim Vrbata of the Chicago Blackhawks. Another set of players that the Phoenix Coyotes have signed includes Alex Auld and David Aebischer, who would man the goaltender position.

A talented group of international players have been signed by the Phoenix Coyotes by the year 2008. The goaltender spot has now been filled by Ilya Bryzgalov of Russia. Replacing him in the spot is Mikael Tellqvist of Sweden. The left wing spot is headlined by Mikkel Boedker of Denmark. At the center spot is Martin Hanzal of the Czech Republic. The right wing is led by Shane Doan of Canada. Doan is also the captain of the Phoenix Coyotes. The defensemen of the Phoenix Coyotes include Zbynek Michalek of the Czech Republic, Kurt Sauer of the United States, and Derek Morris of Canada.

Achievments in Phoenix

The Phoenix Coyotes have had many notable draft picks. In 1996, the team selected Dan Focht with the 11th pick and Daniel Briere with the 24th. They would not have a pick the following year. In 1998, the Phoenix Coyotes would get Patrick DesRochers with the 14th pick. From 1999-2002, the Phoenix Coyotes selected Scott Kelman, Kirill Safronov, Krystofer Kolanos, Fredrik Sjostrom, Jakub Koreis, and Ben Eager. The Phoenix Coyotes would not have a draft pick in 2003. From 2004-2008, the draft picks of the Phoenix Coyotes included Blake Wheeler, Martin Hanzal, Peter Mueller, Chris Summers, Kyle Turris, Nick Ross, Mikkel Bodker, and Viktor Tikhonov.

The team also had notable franchise records. Teemu Selanne would score 76 goals in the 1992-1993 season. The most assists for the Phoenix Coyotes in one season is held by Phil Housley when he had 79 for the 1992-1993 season. Teemu Selanne would also have the most points in a season with 132. It is also interesting to note that Selanne would post this record as a rookie in the 1992-1993 season. The team also had the services of Yanick Lehoux, who was able to make the fastest goal in his NHL debut as he scored within 1:05 in November 8, 2005.

There were various events in 2008 that have had significant importance to the Phoenix Coyotes. In January 23, the Phoenix Coyotes signed Bryzgalov to a 3-year contract. By February 18, Wayne Gretzky would have his 100th coaching career win with the Phoenix Coyotes. He would do this by beating Los Angeles with a 4-0 score. In March 1, the Phoenix Coyotes would see Shane Doan score his 20th goal for the season. This would be his eighth consecutive year with this achievement. The Phoenix Coyotes would also make adjustments to their lineup by trading for Olli Jokinen from the Florida Panthers.

The fans are given special treatment by the Phoenix Coyotes. In their official website, the Phoenix Coyotes allow fans to submit wallpapers which show their love for the team. They may even submit sighting photos of any player of the Phoenix Coyotes. There is also a page dedicated for the kids and their adoration for the mascot of the Phoenix Coyotes known as Howler. There are also various downloadable items in the site. The Phoenix Coyotes are also known for making donations to many charitable institutions. Players also give back to their community by helping out in various projects.

The Phoenix Coyotes only need a few more athletic players to crack the NHL elite. Aside from developing their young players further, the Phoenix Coyotes are constantly acquiring veteran talents to assist in the development process. It would only be a matter of time before the Phoenix Coyotes become serious contenders for the championship.