Skip to main content

The 1996/97 NHL season was a memorable one.

For starters, in a true “circle of life” scenario of all-time great jerseys and logos, the season marked the death of the Hartford Whalers and the birth of the Phoenix Coyotes. 

Detroit solidified its status as “Hockeytown” by clinching their first Stanley Cup victory in 42 years, sweeping the Flyers in the Finals.

Weirdly enough, the big bad Bruins missed the playoffs for the first time in 30 years, ending an unprecedented streak of 29 consecutive playoff qualifications, a feat still unmatched in North American professional sports.

Although we bore witness to a healthy crop of future Hall of Famers like Lemieux, Gretzky, Lindros,

Selanne, Kariya, Jagr— all in their 90’s primes, the NHL’s Most Valuable Player award was shockingly won by the Dominator (yes, he won the Vezina, too).

Indeed, few things made this logo loving 13-year-old more excited than catching any part of a Coyotes home game on TV just to see their unique crescent moon centre ice design.

How could anyone follow the puck when it crossed centre ice?

With this nostalgia in mind, I offer my condolences to all Coyotes fans over the apparent relocation of their team to Salt Lake City for the 2025 season (I can truly sympathize having lost my beloved Montreal Expos in 2004).

Although the proverbial writing has been all over the walls of the 5,000 seat Mullett Arena for a while, it always hurts to see a team move, despite how breathtaking the Salt-Lake locals say their Temple Square is.

That said, is there hope for the long term survival of the Kachina jerseys? Maybe.

Reports indicate that owner, Alex Meruelo, will keep the rights to the Coyotes’ name, logos and trademarks when the team is sold to the NHL. And then, like was done with the 1999 Cleveland Browns, the OG look and feel could be “revived” again as a fresh expansion team one day in the future.

Fans in Quebec City have been waiting with bated breath—along with an 18,000 seat arena—but it seems the Videotron Centre shall remain the annual host of the Quebec International Pee-Wee Tournament for the foreseeable future, mes amis.

Of course, anything can happen, and maybe the NHL doesn’t ever return to the desert. 

But keep in mind that the Phoenix arera is still the 11th largest TV market in the USA (Salt Lale City is 27th), and the franchise did help spawn the hockey career of the league’s most talented goal scorer in Auston Matthews, so the potential return on investment is palpable.

Will we see another iteration of the Coyotes somewhere down the line?

My guess is yes.

Leave a Reply