With the advent of the National Hockey League (NHL) in 1917, hockey has become an ingrained part of the North American sports culture. From kids lacing up their skates for the first time in backyard rinks to professional players lighting up the ice in stadiums, the love for hockey runs deep. And one team that has always stirred emotions and captured hearts with their exceptional performances is the
Based out of Phoenix, Arizona, the Coyotes have a rich history, with passionate fans cheering them on every step of the way. Originally named the Winnipeg Jets, the franchise moved to Arizona in 1996 and rebranded as the Phoenix Coyotes. And since then, the team has seen many ups and downs, with each season bringing a different story to the ice.
But there are a few seasons that stand out in the Arizona Coyotes’ long history—seasons that will always be remembered as the pinnacle of their success. These historic seasons not only brought glory to the team but also cemented their place as one of the top teams in the NHL. Let’s take a trip down memory lane and relive the glory days of the Arizona Coyotes.
1996-97 Season: A Promising Start
The Coyotes’ first season in Arizona saw them make the playoffs, which was a promising start for the team in their new home. With captain Keith Tkachuk leading the way, the team clinched the 7th seed in the Western Conference. In the playoffs, they faced off against the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, but unfortunately lost in the first round.
1999-2000 Season: Division Champions
The turning point for the Coyotes came in the 1999–2000 season, when they won their first ever division title. Under the guidance of Head Coach Bob Francis, the team finished with a record of 39-31-12 and clinched the Pacific Division. Led by star players such as Jeremy Roenick, Shane Doan, and Teppo Numminen, the Coyotes had a strong showing in the playoffs, making it to the Western Conference Semi-Finals before losing to the eventual Stanley Cup champions, the Dallas Stars.
2001-02 Season: Stanley Cup Finalists
This was the season that forever etched the Arizona Coyotes in NHL history. The team now known as the Phoenix Coyotes had their best season to date, finishing with a record of 40-27-9-6 and clinching the 3rd seed in the Western Conference. Led by captain Shane Doan and star goaltender Sean Burke, the Coyotes made a deep playoff run, defeating teams like the San Jose Sharks and Colorado Avalanche along the way. They eventually met the Detroit Red Wings in the Stanley Cup Finals, where they unfortunately fell short and lost in five games. But for a team that had never made it past the second round of the playoffs, this was an extraordinary accomplishment.
2011-12 Season: A New Era Begins
After a few years of mediocre performances, the Coyotes had a strong showing in the 2011-12 season, finishing with a record of 42-27-6 and clinching the 3rd seed in the Western Conference. With new head coach Dave Tippett at the helm, the team had renewed energy and focus. Led by players such as Shane Doan, Ray Whitney, and Mike Smith, the Coyotes made it to the Western Conference Finals, where they were ultimately defeated by the eventual Stanley Cup champions, the Los Angeles Kings. But this season marked a new era for the Coyotes, as they showed they could compete with the top teams in the league.
2019-20 Season: The Return to the Playoffs
After a six-year playoff drought, the Coyotes returned to the postseason in the 2019–20 season. Under the guidance of Head Coach Rick Tocchet, the team had a record of 33-29-8 and secured the 7th seed in the Western Conference. Led by young stars such as Clayton Keller and Christian Dvorak, the Coyotes played a hard-fought series against the Colorado Avalanche in the playoffs but ultimately fell short in five games. Despite the early exit, this season showed that the Coyotes were once again a force to be reckoned with in the league.
Many teams in the NHL have had their share of success and failure. But the Arizona Coyotes have always stood out with their resilient play and passionate fan base. These historic seasons were a testament to the spirit and determination of the team, and they will always hold a special place in the hearts of Coyotes fans.
So, as the 2021–22 season begins, the Arizona Coyotes gear up to chase their ultimate goal—the Stanley Cup. With a solid roster and a talented coaching staff, the Coyotes are poised to make their mark in the upcoming season. And as loyal fans cheer them on, they will continue to create history and etch their name in the annals of the NHL.