Phoenix Coyotes: A Look at the Past
With the introduction of the new Winnipeg Jets logos, I began thinking about the old Coyotes logo and uniforms and the great players that wore them.
The Phoenix Coyotes came to the desert in 1996 and first inhabited the U.S. Airways Arena in downtown Phoenix. The team wore jerseys adorned with maroon, purple, teal, and white. The logo was a desert inspired rendition of a Coyote holding a hockey stick, and the teams secondary logo was a purple moon. Some of the NHL’s great players wore this jersey in the early years of the Coyotes existence. The team’s first captain in the desert was Keith Tkachuk. Tkachuk teamed up with Jeremy Roenick and Rick Tocchet to form a potent offense, while the back end was lead by netminder Nikolai Khabibulin.
After Tkachuk left Phoenix in 2001, Teppo Numminen took the reins as captain Coyote. Numminen wore the “C” for two seasons, then passed the torch to current Coyote captain Shane Doan.
In 2003, the Coyotes moved into their current home at Jobing.com Arena. With this move came a totally new look to the team’s uniform and logo. The days of the hockey stick wielding coyote were left in the past for the current logo of the howling coyote head. The teal and purple were replaced by Sedona Red and Desert Sand, and the team added a black uniform in 2008.
As the Coyotes moved into their new home, they also welcomed an NHL legend behind the bench. Wayne Gretzky took the job as the Coyotes head coach in 2005 and tried to turn the fortunes of the struggling team around. Soon after Gretzky took the job, the team added Brett Hull to bolster the team’s veteran leadership. The team though, continued to struggle and Gretzky stepped down in 2009.
Dave Tippett took over after Gretzky left and turned the fortunes of the Coyotes around. In Tippett’s first year, the Coyotes made the playoffs and almost advanced to the second round, but ultimately lost to the Red Wings in 7 games. The Coyotes fortunes were the same in Tippett’s second year as they lost to the Red Wings in the first round again. The team is making strides to improve though, and is becoming a perennial playoff contender.
As the Coyotes continue to evolve and grow, the team must remember its past and the great players that wore the Coyote uniform. The Coyotes are a young franchise, but are making history everyday.