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The Arizona Coyotes are a professional ice hockey team based in the Phoenix metropolitan area. The Coyotes compete in the National Hockey League (NHL)The Arizona Coyotes 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 Central Division in the Western Conference and currently play at the Mullett Arena in Tempe. They first played at America West Arena (now Footprint Center) in downtown Phoenix from 1996 to 2003 and then played at Glendale's Gila River Arena (now Desert Diamond Arena) from 2003 to 2022. Founded on December 27, 1971, as the Winnipeg Jets of the World Hockey Association (WHA), they were one of four franchises absorbed into the NHL after the WHA had ceased operations, joining on June 22, 1979. The Jets moved to Phoenix on July 1, 1996, and were renamed the Phoenix Coyotes. The franchise name changed to the Arizona Coyotes on June 27, 2014. Alex Meruelo became the majority owner on July 29, 2019.The team was unstable under earlier ownership. The NHL took over the Phoenix Coyotes franchise in 2009, when then-owner Jerry Moyes gave up the team after declaring bankruptcy. The NHL maintained control of the team until 2013 when they found new ownership willing to keep the franchise in Arizona. Despite a difficult working relationship with the city of Glendale and its Gila River Arena, the Coyotes were able to secure a year-to-year arrangement to play in the facility until the end of the 2021–22 season. 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 Central Division in the Western Conference. The Avalanche play their home games at Ball Arena, which they share with the NBA's Denver Nuggets and Colorado Mammoth of the National Lacrosse League. Founded in 1972 as the Quebec Nordiques, the team was 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. During their first season in Denver, the Avalanche won the Pacific Division and went on to sweep the Florida Panthers in the 1996 Stanley Cup Finals. The Avalanche are 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 in seven games to win their second championship. In the 2022 Stanley Cup Finals, the Avalanche defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning in six games to win their third championship. As a result, they remain the only active NHL team that has won all of their appearances in the Stanley Cup Finals. The Avalanche have won eleven 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, the rest in Colorado), and qualified for the playoffs in each of their first ten seasons after relocation; this streak ended in 2007.