Throwback Thanksgiving Edition: Seminal Moments in Jets/Coyotes History

Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE

In this edition of Throwback Thursday, we look back at what we're most thankful for. Yes, good health is great and all, but I'd trade in a week's hospital stay to see one game during Selanne's rookie year or to re-live the first Coyotes' Whiteout game.

- Bobby Hull signing with the then WHA Jets (June 27, 1972)
Few moments in hockey leave an everlasting mark, but when Blackhawks' Bobby Hull signed a contract with the Winnipeg Jets of the World Hockey Association, Hull would be making history in more ways than one. Then, being the largest contract to date, Hull would sign with the Manitoba team in a ceremony that took place in Downtown Winnipeg, at the famous intersection of Portage and Main. The signing of the NHL superstar would bring instant credibility to not only the WHA but to the city of Winnipeg. *Jeremy Roenick would follow in the same footsteps as Hull, leaving Chi-town to help establish the relocated Jets in the Valley of the Sun.

- Newly purchased Jets are admitted into the National Hockey League (June 22, 1979)
Giving the people of Winnipeg something else to be proud of, the Jets' owner Barry Shenkarow and Michael Gobuty direct the Jets into the NHL after spending the previous eight years in the WHA. Although the success that the Jets were accustomed to in the WHA wouldn't follow them into the NHL (Jets won three AVCO Cups, including claiming the last championship before the WHA folded), the Jets would claim one of the most loyal fan bases in all of the National Hockey League.

- 1988 NHL Entry Draft - Teemu Selanne selected 10th overall (June 11, 1988)
Arguably one of the best draft picks of all time belongs to the Winnipeg Jets. In a draft that featured superstar Mike Modano, the Jets would select a right winger from Finland's Jokerit. It would be a few years before Winnipeg and the rest of the NHL would be properly introduced to the Finish Flash as Teemu returned to Finland after the draft. Not being rushed into the NHL might've been the best move as Selanne would light up the NHL in his rookie year.

- Teemu Selanne's rookie year (1992-'93)
Dominating the league in his first year, Selanne would clean house finishing his rookie year with 76 goals and 132 points. The Finish Flash closed out his season with the win of the Calder Memorial Trophy. The incredible season would go down in the books as Selanne would smash records, holding the titles to this day such as most goals by a rookie, most points by a rookie, most goals in a month (20; March '93)

- 1995 NHL Entry Draft - Shane Doan selected 7th overall (July 8, 1995)
The Jets drafted the Kamloops Blazers' Shane Doan in the '95 Entry Draft. NO one predicted the youngster would have the impact he has on the franchise. The Alberta one-man wrecking crew would find comfort in the Jets organization, moving with the team to Phoenix and sticking around with the only team he's ever known even when he had incredible opportunities to go elsewhere. Through thick and thin, captain Coyote has waited patiently for his time to shine with the Jets/Coyotes franchise.

- Game 3 of the 1997 Playoffs - First Phoenix Whiteout (April 16, 1997)
The buzz created with the arrival of the Coyotes was enough to thrust players like Tkachuk, Roenick, and Khabibulin into the local spotlight. If playing for the hottest team in the desert wasn't enough, the Coyotes would bring the Whiteout to the Valley in their first year. Carrying the torch that the fans in Winnipeg lit, the Phoenix fans would flock to America West Arena donning nothing but white in support of the boys as they tried to claw their way to the Cup. Originally, an answer to their 1985 playoff opponent's "C of Red," Jets' fans looked to rattle the Calgary Flames as they took the ice in Winnipeg. The Coyotes would win their first playoff home game but came up short in their first playoff series, losing in seven games to the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim.

- Mike Gartner's 700th NHL goal (December 14, 1997)
Mike Gartner's arrival to the desert came with much controversy as promises with Toronto were broken and he was dealt to the newly relocated franchise. Garner wasted no time here in Phoenix. Scoring the first franchise goal for the Coyotes, Gartner would end that night with the team's first hat trick in a game against the Boston Bruins. Mike's magic touch wouldn't end there. The following December, planting himself in front of the net, Gartner would accept a pass from behind the net from Craig Janney and put the puck past Chris Osgood stick side for his 700th NHL career goal. He joined an elite club that features only five other players that have reached the milestone; Wayne Gretzky, Gordie Howe, Brett Hull, Marcel Dionne and Phil Esposito.

- Jeremy Roenick nets number 400 in Buffalo (February 23, 2001)
Jeremy Roenick would start off his career in Chicago before ending up in the desert, just in time for the debut of the Phoenix Coyotes. Roenick's hard play would make him a fan favorite, becoming one of the biggest sports stars to ever call a Arizona home. Joining Tkachuk, the two would lead the Coyotes in the franchise's early years in the Valley. The firecracker forward will remembered for a number of things in his time as a Coyote, whether it's his back to back hat trick games or his jawing at the Dallas Stars, his most memorable night will be his game against the Buffalo Sabres. Notching his 400th goal, Roenick would accompany Modano, Mullen and teammate Tkachuk in being the fourth U.S. born player to score 400 goals in NHL history.

- Don Maloney becomes general manager (May 29, 2007)
In one of many steps to correct the sinking ship in Arizona, the Coyotes announced that former NHLer Don Maloney would be the newest general manager for the club. Maloney, who is known for his trading acumen and finding hidden gems, has taken the team to new heights in recent years. Having the tight budget due to lack of ownership, Maloney has managed to keep the Coyotes a contending team for the last three seasons. In his biggest move, the former New York Ranger let Bryzgalov walk after a disappointing playoff series and began looking for a proper replacement. That replacement would be none other than Mike Smith. Smith who would be lights out for most of last season.

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