Sunday, January 19, 2014

NHL Approves Jets Move To Phoenix

On Jan. 19, 1996, the National Hockey League (NHL) approved the move of the Winnipeg Jets to Phoenix. The move was another example of a Canadian team moving to a new American market. The Quebec Nordiques had moved to Colorado following the 1994-95 season.

The Jets became the Phoenix Coyotes and have struggled to establish a market in the desert.

In 2011 Winnipeg offered up a new stadium to host another NHL team. The NHL agreed that Canada should have another team, and Winnipeg was re-given the Jets, but this time in the form of the Atlanta Thrashers franchise.

The Jets, formerly known as the Atlanta Thrashers were founded in 1999 in Atlanta, and have won zero Stanley Cups, zero Conference Championships, zero President Trophies and zero Division Championships.

In their 12 years, the Thrashers, now Jets, have qualified for the Stanley Cup playoffs only once, during the 2006–07 season. Partially due to their lack of playoff success, the team had difficulty-drawing fans to attend their games over their final seasons.

The original Winnipeg Jets, which were founded in 1972 as part of the World Hockey Association (WHA), moved to the NHL in 1979 following the collapse of the WHA.

During their time in the WHA the Jets put together some fantastic seasons winning the Avco World Trophy, similar to the Stanley Cup, three times, during the 1975-1976, 1977-1978 and the 1978-1979 seasons.

Another notable accomplishment was the Jets' 5–3 victory over the Soviet National team on January 5, 1978, making the Jets the first club team ever to defeat the Soviet elite squad.

In the last season in the WHA, Kent Nilsson had 107 points, while Morris Lukowich had 65 goals, and Peter Sullivan had 46 goals and 86 points. The Jets made it to the Avco Cup and Gary Smith gave up the last goal in WHA history to Dave Semenko in a 7–3 Jets win.

Hockey great Bobby Hull played for the Jets and holds the record for most games played with 411, goals with 303 and points with 638.

After the Jets moved into the NHL they were just another team in a bigger league, and their winning ways did follow suit as they failed to win a Stanley Cup or even win a Conference Championship, President Trophy or Division Championship.

The Jets would win only two playoff series. The first came in 1985, as the Jets finished with the fourth-best record in the entire league (behind only Philadelphia Flyers, Edmonton Oilers and Washington Capitals.

They also notched 96 points, which would remain the franchise's best as an NHL team until the 2009–10 Coyotes racked up the franchise's second 100-point season (and first as an NHL team).

While they managed to dispatch the Calgary Flames in four games in the best-of-five division semi-final, the eventual Stanley Cup champion Oilers, with Wayne Gretzky, in the division final, swept them. In fact, Winnipeg and Edmonton played each other in the playoffs six times between 1983 and 1990.

The Oilers not only won every series, but also held the Jets to only four total victories over the six-playoff series.

Five of those times (1984, 1985, 1987, 1988, and 1990), the Oilers went on to win the Stanley Cup.

The second playoff series victory came in 1987, defeating Calgary in the division semi-final before losing to Edmonton, in the division final.