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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. They first played at America West Arena in downtown Phoenix before moving to Glendale's Gila River Arena on December 27, 2003. For the 2021–22 NHL season, the Coyotes returned to the Central Division for the first time since the 1997–98 season.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 NHL after the WHA had ceased operations, and were granted membership on June 22, 1979. The Jets moved to Phoenix on July 1, 1996, and were renamed the Phoenix Coyotes. The franchise finalized a second name change to become the Arizona Coyotes on June 27, 2014. 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 their use of 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. To date, they are the oldest franchise to have never played in the Stanley Cup Finals.
The Los Angeles Kings are a professional ice hockey team based in Los Angeles. The team competes in the National Hockey League (NHL) as a member of theThe Los Angeles Kings are a professional ice hockey team based in Los Angeles. The team competes in the National Hockey League (NHL) as a member of the Pacific Division in the Western Conference, and was founded on June 5, 1967, after Jack Kent Cooke was awarded an NHL expansion franchise for Los Angeles on February 9, 1966, becoming one of the six teams that began play as part of the 1967 NHL expansion. The Kings played their home games at the Forum in Inglewood, California, a suburb of Los Angeles, for 32 years, until they moved to the Staples Center in Downtown Los Angeles at the start of the 1999–2000 season. During the 1970s and early 1980s, the Kings had many years marked by impressive play in the regular season only to be washed out by early playoff exits. Their highlights in those years included the strong goaltending of Rogie Vachon, and the "Triple Crown Line" of Charlie Simmer, Dave Taylor and Hall of Famer Marcel Dionne, who had a famous upset of the uprising Edmonton Oilers in a 1982 playoff game known as the Miracle on Manchester. In 1988, the Kings traded with the Oilers to get their captain Wayne Gretzky, leading to a successful phase of the franchise that raised hockey's popularity in Los Angeles, and helped raise the sport's profile in the American Sun Belt region. Gretzky, fellow Hall of Famer Luc Robitaille, and defenseman Rob Blake led the Kings to the franchise's sole division title in 1990–91, and the Kings' first Stanley Cup Final appearance in 1993, where they lost to the Montreal Canadiens. After the 1993 Finals, the Kings entered financial problems, with a bankruptcy in 1995, which led to the franchise being acquired by Philip Anschutz (the owner of Anschutz Entertainment Group and the operators of Staples Center) and Edward P. Roski. A period of mediocrity ensued, with the Kings only resurging as they broke a six-year playoff drought in the 2009–10 season, with a team that included goaltender Jonathan Quick, defenseman Drew Doughty, and forwards Dustin Brown, Anze Kopitar, Jeff Carter, and Justin Williams. Under coach Darryl Sutter, who was hired early in the 2011–12 season, the Kings won two Stanley Cups in three years: 2012 over the New Jersey Devils, and 2014 over the New York Rangers, while Quick and Williams respectively won the Conn Smythe Trophy.