- Winnipeg Jets
- August 23, 2018
The Winnipeg Jets, commonly known as the Jets, are a professional ice hockey team based in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Theoretically, the original team was founded in 1972, under the name of Phoenix Coyotes, following a name and location renewal (Atlanta Thrashers) in 1999. Finally, in 2011, they relocated to Winnipeg and became the Winnipeg Jets.
The Jets code colors are: white, blue, red and silver; while their logo is a grey jet flying North inside a grey and blue circle on a red maple leaf. Their home arena is Bell MTS Place (the former MTS Centre), which is the smallest arena in the NHL.
The WHA (1972-79) and the NHL (1979-96) eras
The original Winnipeg Jets joined the World Hockey Association in 1972, being the first professional team from Winnipeg to join a major league, which at that time was the rival of the National Hockey League. During the WHA era, they acquired valuable team members, such as: the NHL superstar Robert Marvin Hull (Bobby Hull) and the Swedish stars Ulf Nilsson and Anders Hedberg. The Jets did an admirable job throughout their time in the league and won three of the seven WHA championships, including the one from 1979. During the last game, they defeated the Edmonton Oilers and won their third Avco World Trophy, becoming the most successful team in the league.
After the WHA ceased operations in 1979, the club joined the NHL, along with 3 other teams: New England Whalers, Quebec Nordiques and the Edmonton Oilers. The Oilers were the only team to keep both their original name and city; while the Jets, after facing multiple struggles, have been sold to the American interests. On 1st July 1996, the team officially changed their name to the Phoenix Coyotes and relocated to Arizona.
During their NHL career they won only 29 games in the first two campaigns. The 1980-81 season was their worst, as they finished with only 32 points. In opposition, their best season was in 1984-85 when they finished on the fourth place overall in the NHL. Unlike the WHA era, the Jets didn’t succeed in advancing beyond their division in the playoffs, including against the Oilers, which defeated and eliminated them from the playoffs six times.
The Atlanta Thrashers (1999-2011)
The Thrashers began playing in the 1999-2000 season as a NHL expansion franchise. In 12 years of activity, from 1999 to 2011 they qualified for the Stanley Cup playoffs once, in the 2006-07 season, but they never won a playoff game.
The comeback of the Winnipeg Jets (2011 – present)
In spite of the relocation, the Thrashers weren’t profitable and after the 2008 – 09 season, the club filed for bankruptcy. After numerous rumors, bids and contradictions; True North Sports & Entertainment Limited announced its signing of an agreement to buy the Atlanta Thrashers and to relocate the franchise to Winnipeg. On 21st June 2011, the Winnipeg Jets were reborn and needless to say, the team was determined to prove its worth.
Despite their ambition and the enthusiasm of the Jets fans, in the first three seasons they didn’t make the playoffs. Still, in the 2014-15 season they occupied the eighth place in the conference and a playoff series, with 99 points. Over the next two season, they failed once again to qualify for the playoffs, however, in 2016, managed to win the second overall pick in the NHL Draft Lottery. This allowed them to pick second instead of sixth in the 2016 NHL Draft. The Jets chose the Finnish player, Patrik Laine.
The 2017 – 18 season
During the 2017-18 season, the Winnipeg Jets secured a place in the 2018 Stanley Cup playoffs by defeating the Nashville Predators 5–4 in a shootout. In the opening round, they beat the Minnesota Wild with 3-2 and defeated the Nashville Predators with 4-3 in the second round. The latest winning marked the first time the Winnipeg Jets had advanced beyond the second round of the playoffs. During the Western Conference Finals, they played against the Vegas Golden Knights and they managed to defeat them in the first game of the series with a victory of 4–2. However, the Jets lost the finals in five games to the Vegas Golden Knights.
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