Winnipeg Jets

Winnipeg Jets

Coyotes Timeline


Winnipeg Jets Team Formation

On December 27, 1971, Winnipeg was granted one of the founding franchises in the WHA, to Ben Hatskin, a local figure who made his wealth in cardboard shipping containers. The team took their name from the Winnipeg Jets of the Western Canada Hockey League.

Enter the NHL

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 along with the Nordiques, Oilers and Hartford Whalers. They had to pay a high price for a berth in the more established league, however. They had to give up three of their top six scorers – the core of the last WHA champion – in a reclamation draft. They were also forced to draft 18th out of 21 teams. In the draft, they opted to protect defenceman Scott Campbell, who had shown a good deal of promise in the last WHA season.

Move to Phoenix

Various schemes were devised to save the team. Attempts to find a local buyer were unsuccessful, with league commissioner Gary Bettman saying, "there doesn't seem to be anybody, in a serious fashion, who wants to own the franchise." After a final last effort by a team of local businessmen, dubbed the Spirit of Manitoba, fell through, team owner Barry Shenkarow sold the team to American businessmen Steven Gluckstern and Richard Burke. Burke and Gluckstern originally planned to move the team to Minnesota which had lost the North Stars to Dallas in 1993, but eventually reached an agreement with Phoenix businessman Jerry Colangelo that would see the team move to Arizona and become the Phoenix Coyotes. The Winnipeg Jets played their last-ever game on April 28, 1996, a home playoff loss to the Detroit Red Wings by a score of 4–1. Norm Maciver scored the last goal in Jets history.

Ellman New Ownership

Burke bought out Gluckstern in 1998, but was unable to attract more investors to alleviate the team's financial woes. Finally, in 2001, Burke sold the team to Phoenix-area developer Steve Ellman, with Wayne Gretzky as a part-owner and head of hockey operations.

Glendale Arena Opens

In 2003, the team opened Glendale Arena, now known as Arena, and moved there in 2003. Ellman put forward numerous proposals to improve the hockey sight lines in America West Arena in hopes of boosting capacity back over the 17,000 mark. However, neither of these got beyond the planning stages, leading Ellman to commit to building a new arena. Simultaneously, the team changed its logo and uniforms, moving from the previous multi-colored kit to a more streamlined look.


In December 2008, the media became aware that the Coyotes were suffering massive losses, and the NHL was paying the team's bills. The media reports were minimized by NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and vice-president Bill Daly. However, Moyes had secretly given operational control of the team to the league. In May 2009, Moyes put the team into bankruptcy hours before Bettman was to present him an offer to sell the team to Chicago Bulls and Chicago White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf. Moyes intended to sell the team to Canadian billionaire Jim Balsillie who intended to purchase the team out of bankruptcy and move it to Hamilton, Ontario. The NHL responded by stripping Moyes of his remaining ownership authority.
From May until September 2009, hearings were held in Phoenix bankruptcy court to determine the fate of the Coyotes and the holding company. Two potential bidders for the team surfaced, Reinsdorf and Ice Edge Holdings. but they did not submit a bid for the team at the bankruptcy hearing. Instead, the NHL put in the only rival bid to Balsillie for the team, while it contended the Moyes-Balsillie deal violated NHL rules. Ultimately, the bankruptcy court voided the planned sale to Balsillie, accepting the league's argument that bankruptcy could not be used to circumvent league rules. The NHL's initial bid was also declared insufficient, but the judge left the window open to an improved bid. Moyes and the NHL settled, with the NHL buying the team and assuming all debts. The NHL negotiated a temporary lease with the city of Glendale, which owns Arena.
The NHL then proceeded to work with the Reinsdorf and Ice Edge to work out a deal with Glendale. Ice Edge signed a letter of intent to buy the team from the NHL, while Reinsdorf has won the approval of the City of Glendale. The NHL has yet to deal with the purchase. On Friday, May 7, 2010, reported that Reinsdorf bid had fallen apart, and the City of Glendale was working with Ice Edge to buy the team in a last-ditch effort to keep them in Arizona. The National Post criticized both bids, as both were conditional on municipal taxpayers to cover any losses that the Coyotes might incur, and suggested that keeping the team in Phoenix was never economically viable.
In July 2010, the Ice Edge bid collapsed, as it did not satisfy Glendale's financial conditions. Ice Edge decided to concentrate on an effort to buy a minor league team. The City of Glendale had to step in and guarantee the team's losses for 2010–11 as a precondition of the NHL not transferring the franchise. A consortium of investors led by Chicago investor Matt Hulsizer then reached a deal to purchase the Coyotes from the NHL along with a lease agreement with Glendale. However, the Hulsizer deal collapsed in late June 2011 at least in part due to a threatened suit by the Goldwater Institute over the legality of payments Glendale would make to Hulsizer prior to the consortium buying the team. The threat of the suit may have prevented the sale of bonds to finance the payments. The team only stayed in Phoenix for the 2011–12 season after another $25 million payment by the city of Glendale.
A deal to former San Jose Sharks owner Greg Jamison had been drafted but failed to be finalized and fulfilled by January 31, 2013. The deal would have seen the Coyotes stay in Phoenix for the next 20 years relying on a tax payer subsidy, according to the agreement. It would also have had 'Phoenix' dropped from the name and instead use the more inclusive term 'Arizona'."
California investment executive Darin Pastor also submitted a bid to buy the Coyotes. His bid proposed to keep the team in the Glendale area while engaging young hockey players in the region through school partnerships and scholarship efforts. The NHL ultimately rejected Pastor's bid on May 13, 2013, citing the bid was "inconsistent with what we had previously indicated were the minimum prerequisites" of a bid.

Jets Primary Logo History Jets Alternate Logo History No Wordmark Logo History


Team Information Team History

Winnipeg - Phoenix

Jets - The Winnipeg Jets, formed in late 1971, got their moniker from a team of the same name that played in Canada's Western Hockey League.

Gila River Arena
2014 - present
  • Arena
  • 2006 - 2014
  • Glendale Arena
  • 2003 - 2005

America West Arena
1996 - 2003

Winnipeg Arena 
1972 - 1996

2013 - present
National Hockey League
2009 - 2013
Wayne Gretzky and Jerry Moyes
2006 - 2009
Steve Ellman, Wayne Gretzky, and Jerry Moyes
2001 - 2006
Richard Burke
1998 - 2001
Steven Gluckstern and Richard Burke
1996 - 1998
Barry Shenkarow
1979 - 1996
Ben Hatskin
1972 - 1979

Established: 1972

League History:
National Hockey League
1979 - present
World Hockey Association 
1972 - 1979

Team History:
Arizona Coyotes
2014 - present
Phoenix Coyotes
1996 - 2013
Winnipeg Jets
1972 - 1996

Stanley Cups: 0

Retired Numbers:
7 Keith Tkachuk
9 Bobby Hull
10 Dale Hawerchuk
25 Thomas Steen
27 Teppo Numminen
97 Jeremy Roenick
99 Wayne Gretzky

Mascots: 1980 - 1996
  *Red is this team's history

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