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The Arizona Coyotes (colloquially known as the Yotes) are a professional ice hockey team based in the Phoenix metropolitan area. The Coyotes compete inThe Arizona Coyotes (colloquially known as the Yotes) are a professional ice hockey team based in the Phoenix metropolitan area. The Coyotes compete in the National Hockey League (NHL) as a member of the West Division. The team first played at America West Arena in downtown Phoenix, before moving to Glendale's Gila River Arena in 2003. Starting in the 2021–22 NHL season, the Coyotes are scheduled to return to the Central Division for the first time since the 1997–98 season when the Seattle Kraken joins the league.Originally founded on December 27, 1971 as the Winnipeg Jets of the World Hockey Association (WHA), they were one of four franchises absorbed into the National Hockey League after the WHA had ceased operations and then granted membership on June 22, 1979. The Jets moved to Phoenix on July 1, 1996, and were re-named as the Phoenix Coyotes. The franchise finalized a second name change on June 27, 2014, to become the Arizona Coyotes. Alex Meruelo became the majority owner on July 29, 2019.The team has been known for its instability under prior ownership. The NHL took over operations of the Phoenix Coyotes franchise in 2009 when then-owner Jerry Moyes turned it over directly to the league after declaring bankruptcy. The NHL maintained control of the team until 2013 when they were able to find new ownership willing to keep the franchise in Arizona. Despite their difficult working relationship with the city of Glendale and the use of Gila River Arena, the Coyotes has signed a lease through the 2019–20 season. As of 2020, they are the oldest franchise to have never played in the Stanley Cup Finals.
The Colorado Avalanche (colloquially known as the Avs) are a professional ice hockey team based in Denver. They compete in the National Hockey League (NHL)The Colorado Avalanche (colloquially known as the Avs) are a professional ice hockey team based in Denver. They compete in the National Hockey League (NHL) as a member of the West Division. Their home arena is Ball Arena, which they share with the Denver Nuggets of the National Basketball Association. Their general manager is Joe Sakic. The Avalanche were founded in 1972 as the Quebec Nordiques and were one of the charter franchises of the World Hockey Association. The franchise joined the NHL in 1979 as a result of the NHL–WHA merger. Following the 1994–95 season, they were sold to the COMSAT Entertainment Group and relocated to Denver. In the club's first season in Denver, the Avalanche won the Pacific Division and went on to sweep the Florida Panthers in the 1996 Stanley Cup Finals, becoming the first NHL team to win the Stanley Cup in the season following a relocation. Among teams in the major North American professional sports leagues, only the National Football League (NFL)'s 1937 Washington Redskins have also accomplished the feat. This was the first major professional sports championship a Denver-based team brought to the city. In the 2001 Stanley Cup Finals, the Avalanche defeated the New Jersey Devils 4–3 to win their second and most recent championship. As a result, they are the only active NHL team that has won all of its Stanley Cup Finals appearances. The Avalanche have won nine division titles since relocating to Denver (and set the league record for most consecutive division titles at nine in a row from 1995 to 2003; one in Quebec, and the rest in Colorado) and qualified for the playoffs in each of their first ten seasons after relocation; this streak ended in 2007.