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Let’s Look Back On The Great Moments In Arizona Coyotes History

Arizona Coyotes arena in 1996, with a big coyote inflatable
Glenn Cratty/Allsport

Despite the absence of official confirmation by the NHL—which could come as soon as a Board of Governors meeting later today—everyone treated the Arizona Coyotes' final game of the season like the last one ever. In front of a capacity crowd of 4,600 Wednesday night, the Yotes beat the Oilers 5-2. What happens next, presumably, is that the league will facilitate a sale to Utah Jazz owner Ryan Smith that would take the franchise out of the desert and deliver NHL hockey to Salt Lake City.

I'll be the first to admit that there are not a lot of good memories getting left behind by the Coyotes. With their relocation in 1996, they ripped away a team from fans in Winnipeg, and soon after they petered out into a franchise relevant only for its extreme dysfunction. The team had trouble paying its bills, holding on to a consistent owner, or finding an arena that suited them. They haven't made a non-bubble postseason since 2012. When they called upon voters to help them escape the miniature rental rink they'd gotten stuck in, they were hit with a resounding shrug. By the end of the Coyotes' southwestern existence, they were so pathetic that it was hard to even hate them or the Gary Bettman stubbornness this whole experiment represented. It was just sad that hockey's leadership had let it come to this, when surely there were better options available.

But who's to say the Coyotes were completely irredeemable? Their passing is still the end of an era, and they were without a doubt one of the teams in NHL history. Since the narrative about this move is the disasters that precipitated it, there's no reason why we can't also take time to celebrate the positive moments. In the space below, we've collected all of the good times from the Coyotes' run in Arizona.


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