Arizona Coyotes Record, History & Fun Facts
Compared to most of the other NHL franchises, the Arizona Coyotes are relatively young. On top of that, the franchise is lacking what most would consider a winning tradition. Although sometimes that’s good news for Arizona Coyotes ticket prices, which are among the most affordable in the NHL. But the Coyotes have been around long enough to create some history and have some pride. They’ve had star players just like every franchise and have created some moments in the spotlight. To prove our point, let’s take a look at the Arizona Coyotes record book and some of the more intriguing tidbits about the franchise.
The Big Move
The Coyotes were born after the Winnipeg Jets relocated in 1996. The Jets were originally members of the World Hockey Association in 1972 before joining the NHL in 1979. While Winnipeg’s tenure in the WHA was brief, the Jets won three championships, including back-to-back titles in 1978 and 1979 before the move to the NHL. Unfortunately, success in the NHL was limited, as the Jets won a total of two playoff series in 17 seasons.
That trend largely continued after the franchise moved to Arizona and became the Coyotes. While they made the playoffs in each of their first four seasons, the Coyotes were knocked out in the first round every time. It wasn’t until 2012 that the Coyotes won their first playoff series, doing so on their way to the Western Conference Finals. However, that triumph was followed by a seven-year playoff drought that lasted until the 2020 season.
Leader of the Pack
Few players define the history of a franchise the way Shane Doan does for the Coyotes. He played 21 NHL seasons, making his debut with the Jets in the team’s final season in Winnipeg and then spending the rest of his career with the Coyotes, remaining loyal to the franchise until his retirement in 2017.
Doan was in the starting lineup when the Coyotes played their first-ever game, and his name is now scattered all over the Arizona Coyotes record book. He ended his career in 2017 with the most games played, goals, and points in Coyotes history. He had 69 game-winning goals, 125 power-play goals, and 3,801 shots on goal during his career, all of which are franchise records. In 2019, Doan became the first player in franchise history to have his jersey retired.
The Other Record Holders
While Doan owns most of the franchise’s all-time records, Arizona’s single-season records are held by a multitude of other memorable Coyotes. First, Keith Tkachuk, who was also a starter for the first game in Coyotes history, owns the single-season record for goals with 52 and points with 86, both of which were set during the inaugural Coyotes season in 1996 and 1997. Meanwhile, Ray “The Wizard” Whitney owns the single-season record for assists with 53.
Elsewhere on the ice, Keith Yandle has the franchise record for most points in a season by a defenseman with 59, while Clayton Keller’s 65 points during the 2017-18 season were the most by a Coyotes rookie. On the goal-tending front, Ilya Bryzgalov won 42 games during the memorable 2009-10 season, setting the franchise record. Finally, winger Daniel Carcillo has the distinct honor of racking up 324 penalty minutes during the 2007-08 season, setting the franchise record.
The Great One
Few NHL franchises can claim to have a connection to Wayne Gretzky, the greatest player of all time, but the Coyotes are one of them. In 2000, Gretzky became a minority owner of the Coyotes, opening the door for him to become the team’s head coach in 2005. Unfortunately, Gretzky’s talents as a player didn’t translate into coaching. He guided the Coyotes for four seasons, with the team missing the playoffs all four seasons. Ironically, after Gretzky stepped down as head coach, the Coyotes made the playoffs in three consecutive years, culminating in their run to the Western Conference Finals in 2012.
Regardless of the franchise, being a captain in the NHL is always a special honor. Since the birth of the Coyotes in 1996, only four players have had the distinction of being the team captain. Naturally, Doan held that honor from 2003 to 2017, making him the longest-tenured captain in Arizona history. Upon his retirement, Doan was replaced by defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson, who was drafted by the Coyotes in 2009 and has played his entire NHL career in Arizona.
During the team’s inaugural season in 1996, Tkachuk had the honor of being the franchise’s first captain after previously having that role with the Jets. After Tkachuk left the Coyotes in 2001, the captaincy was given to defenseman Teppo Numminen, who held it for two seasons before passing the torch to Doan. During his time as the captain, Doan received the King Clancy Memorial Trophy in 2010 for his leadership, as well as the Mark Messier Leadership Award in 2012, bringing pride to the Coyotes and confirming his standing as the most important player in franchise history.