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Jersey week: The newly relocated Coyotes

For jersey week we are going to go through the history of Coyotes jerseys, starting with the original Phoenix Coyotes.

Nikolai Khabibulin

This week is jersey week on SBNation and to celebrate we are going to look at the jerseys of the Arizona Coyotes history.

In 1996 the Winnipeg Jets relocated to Phoenix and began playing at America West Arena. It was the 1990s and with hockey’s push to the southwest came one of the most unique jerseys in professional hockey.

Almost every aspect of this jersey is iconic and it is still felt all these years later.

NHL Uniforms

When the Coyotes relocated from Winnipeg they left a fairly standard red, white, and blue design for a black/white jersey, with brick red and forest green accent colors with a truly unique southwestern-style trim. Having lived in Arizona for the past twenty years I rarely see the design in everyday life, but despite that, it just screams the Arizona desert.

The logo on the patch is the purple and white moon patch. The patch design isn’t as iconic, but the Coyotes continuing incorporating the moon design. At Gila River Arena you can still see the moon from the original patch, you may even get to see it rise. Although it gets nowhere near as much attention, probably because unlike many of the future patches it isn’t uniquely Arizona.

Finally, we have to talk about the original Kachina logo. While many logos feature animals, few are as unique as the Kachina-Coyote. The greens and purples, the two colors of the face, and just the general design just work together. Contemporary Phoenix can be a bit bland, but the Kachina logo just screams “Southwest”.

Given the cultural significance of many elements of the design, it is great the Coyotes sought approval from Native Americans before incorporating them into a sports uniform. David Haney who was working for the NHL at the time did seek approval from local Hopi leaders in Arizona at the time.

Through changes in ownership and even names, the legacy of the original jersey has survived well into the modern era of the Coyotes. The Coyotes currently use it for Throwback weekend games, and it is heavily used in Coyotes marketing and merchandise.

The design has also migrated south to Tucson, inspiring the Roadrunners to create their own Kachina-style alternate jersey.

Lately, a few people have expressed hate for this jersey and this logo. And while I firmly disagree, I can understand the disagreement. The jersey is so unique it forces you to have an opinion of it, either good or bad. To me, the worst jerseys are the bland ones, that could be any team. The Coyotes’ original jersey is truly its own thing, and I’m glad it’s so widely used.