Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
|Founded||1972 (as Winnipeg Jets)|
|Home ice||Glendale Arena|
|League||National Hockey League|
|Head coach||Rick Bowness|
|General manager||Michael Barnett|
|Owners||Wayne Gretzky, Steve Ellman|
The Winnipeg Jets were a WHA and then an NHL franchise who are now the Phoenix Coyotes. In 1972, Winnipeg was granted one of the founding franchises in the World Hockey Association. The National Hockey League had recently expanded to 16 teams, adding franchises in many hockey-hungry cities (only one in Canada), but also in Atlanta, Oakland and Los Angeles. The WHA brought professional hockey to Ottawa, Quebec City, Winnipeg, Edmonton, and later Calgary and Toronto.
The Jets' first major signing was Bobby Hull, aka the Golden Jet. The Jets were the most successful WHA team, winning three Avco Cups, the league's championship trophy. By 1979, the vast majority of the WHA's teams had folded, but the Jets were still going strong, and they were absorbed into the NHL, but had to give up three of their top six scorers and drafted 18th out of the NHL's 21 teams.
The Jets experienced mixed success in the NHL, with predictably terrible results in their first few seasons. In 1981, they drafted future hall of famer Dale Hawerchuk. They finished 5th in the league in 1984-85, their best showing.
As the NHL expanded in the United States, operating costs and salaries grew rapidly, and the Jets were unable to retain their best players. Various schemes were attempted to save the team, but it was sold to out-of-town interests. In 1996, the Winnipeg Jets moved to Arizona and became the Phoenix Coyotes.
The Jets retired two numbers, #9, Bobby Hull, and #25, Thomas Steen . Both numbers hang in Glendale Arena with the Phoenix Coyotes franchise. The number 9, however will be worn by Bobby's son Brett Hull during his tenure with the team.
In 2004 Winnipeg writer Steve Lundin wrote When She's Gone, which portayed the psychic damage done to Manitioba's hockey fans by the loss of the team.
Players of Note
- Shane Doan
- Brett Hull
- Mike Comrie
- Ladislav Nagy
- Brian Boucher
- Paul Mara
- Mike Ricci
- Petr Nedved
- Sean O'Donnell
Not to be forgotten:
- 25 Thomas Steen
- 99 Wayne Gretzky (retired league-wide by the NHL)
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