The Winnipeg Jets—the team that would eventually become the Phoenix Coyotes—were one of the founding members of the World Hockey Association (WHA) which debut in 1972. They were one of the fledgling league's most successful team and part of the 1979 WHA-NHL merger. The Jets entered the NHL with the Quebec Nordiques (Colorado Avalanche), Hartford Whalers (Carolina Hurricanes), and Edmonton Oilers. Unfortunately for fans, the Jets didn't bring their WHA success with them to the NHL. In their first season, 1980-1981, the Jets won just nine games. Their poor showing was in large part due to the reclamation draft. The NHL allowed teams to take back players they had lost to the WHA. Nonetheless, the Jets persevered and managed to qualify for the postseason 11 of the next 15 seasons. While that feat is impressive their playoff record was not. During that time they won just two postseason series.
In the 1990's, players salaries started to increase, and being one of the smallest markets in the NHL, Winnipeg just couldn't compete. They had the fan support but not the arena. In December of 1995 the franchise was sold to an ownership group featuring Jerry Colangelo, owner of the NBA's Phoenix Suns and MLB's Arizona Diamondbacks. The franchise began play the following season (1996-1997) in Arizona as the Phoenix Coyotes.
The Coyotes finished above .500 for the next six seasons and made the playoffs five times. The season the Coyotes didn't reach the playoffs they finished with 90 points. That made the Coyotes the first NHL team to compile 90 points in the regular season and miss the playoffs. In 2009, the Coyotes filed for bankruptcy. No one stepped forward to buy the team so it was eventually purchased by the NHL. Wayne Gretzky coached the team from 2005-2009 but failed to take the team to the postseason. As of 2010, the Coyotes have not won a playoff series while in Phoenix. The team is situated in the Pacific Division of the Western Conference. Coyotes tickets are sold to the Jobing.com Arena located in Glendale, Arizona. In 2014, the franchise changed its name to Arizona Coyotes.