Fans at Mullett Arena recall their all-time favorite Arizona Coyotes players


The Arizona Coyotes welcomed Original Six member, the Detroit Red Wings to Mullett Arena on Tuesday night

James Mackey, Reporter

The original Winnipeg Jets debuted in 1972, and were part of the World Hockey Association. When the WHA had to fold it’s cards, and merged with the National Hockey League, the Winnipeg Jets were one of four teams, along with the Edmonton Oilers, Quebec Nordiques and Hartford Whalers, who made the transition into their formerly rival league, the NHL.

The Winnipeg Jets were sold to Phoenix business man Jerry Colangelo, the then owner of the Phoenix Suns, and moved south (way south), to America West Arena in 1996, where they played until the team moved to Glendale in 2003.

Nikolai Khabibulin, Teppo Numiminen, Sean Burke, Daniel Briere, Ryan Whitney, and head coach Wayne Gretzky are some of the past names that graced the Arizona Coyotes, and the list goes on.

“Antoine Vermette,” says Ryan Haggard of Gilbert, a Valley native, who is actually a Red Wing’s fan  due to his father’s life in Michigan.

“My favorite Antoine Vermette moment, is his overtime goal in the Stanley Cup Finals with the Chicago Blackhawks,” Haggard said. “He did really good when he left the Coyotes.”

Luke Plzak was born in California, but moved to the Valley when he was 8 years old.  He went to his first hockey game at the age of 9, and has been a Coyotes fan ever since.

Plzak had season tickets in Glendale, and has four season tickets in his name at Mullett Arena, and says Shane Doan is his favorite Coyote.

“Doan’s the kind of guy you can get behind,” said Plzak. “He’s a player that’s in a management position, so he knows what they need on the ice versus off the ice.”

Doan is currently the Chief Hockey Development Officer for the Coyotes.

“My favorite memory is him drafting his son. Heartfelt, emotional, can’t beat it,” Plzak said.

“Seeing (Jeremy) Roenick come from the Blackhawks, out here, was cool, to see a hall of famer guy do that was cool,” said Jason Stieler, a Scottsdale resident who was sporting a Coyotes jersey, even though he is a Detroit Red Wings fan.  “The (Keith) Tkachuk was cool, (Oliver) Ekman-Larsson was pretty cool.”

“Watching them all play. Just cool to see somebody on another level,” Stieler said about his favorite moments of their careers. “They understand how to identify space, make something out of nothing.”

Arizona suits up to play the Washington Capitals Thursday, before welcoming Phil Kessel back to the Valley, with the Vegas Golden Knights on Sunday.