NHL logo rankings No. 2: Arizona Coyotes

Our NHL logo rankings continue the final countdown, with the smooth, artistic, wonderful color combination of the Arizona Coyotes finishing No. 2. Think you can design a better one? Send yours to and we’ll share our favorites next week.

We’re nearing the end of our NHL logo rankings, which are the result of a seven-person THN panel who discussed and debated each logo. Rather than judge by longevity and rank the Original 6 teams 1-6, we tried to look at the designs again for the first time. Coming in at No. 2: The Arizona Coyotes. For sure, some people are going to hate this selection. We’ve already seen the comments about the “roadkill” logo, but we couldn’t disagree more. The Coyotes logo, which is a massive improvement on their original, is a nice-looking canine with a sun-dried color combination you don’t see every day. For me, I like the Coyotes logo for the same reasons I like the
UConn Huskies logo: it’s just a good looking animal. The Coyotes design isn’t a cartoon, or one that looks soft and too happy for its own good. The howling Coyote is a sophisticated design that also sits nice on the jersey with smooth colors. Some will wonder how we ranked it No. 2 in the NHL – I’ll wonder how others don’t see the beauty in it. So goes the logo ranking process. But if you think you can design a better logo for the Coyotes, now is your chance. Send in your design to and we’ll run a collection of our favorite readar redesigns next week. And why not try designing new logos for the
other NHL teams we’ve ranked? Tomorrow we release the NHL logo we ranked No. 1. But you can probably figure out which one it’s going to be. All logos from
Chris Creamer’s website.
HISTORY OF THE COYOTES LOGO The Coyotes didn’t start in the desert, as the Coyotes, or even in the NHL. This team has its roots in Winnipeg and the WHA. The Winnipeg Jets were one of the founding franchises in the WHA, a rival upstart to the NHL, and would become a powerhouse in that league. The first big splash the team ever made was signing Bobby Hull away from the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks, making him the first player to earn a $1 million contract. In 1972-73, the first year of the WHA, the Jets lost in the Avco Cup final to the New England Whalers. The first primary logo ever used by the team isn’t the one we equate to the original Jets, but this design of a red circle with a hockey player and a jet taking off in the distance. The team would continue to use these colors, but this logo stood as the team’s main image for only its first two years of existence.

In 1974-75, the Jets primary logo became what we all recognize today – and it’s the one the team enjoyed its greatest successes with. During this time, the Jets were one of the first professional North American hockey teams to turn its focus towards Europe to find talent. Ulf Nilsson and Anders Hedberg were among the first impact players the team added and this collection of talent led the Jets to a string of winning seasons. In 1976, Winnipeg won its first Avco Cup and would return to the final in each of the next three seasons, winning the championship twice more. In 1979, they became the last champions the WHA ever had, beating the Edmonton Oilers in six games. The following season, the league folded and some of its teams jumped to the NHL. The Jets were one of those teams.
coyotes2 Winnipeg would continue to use the main blue image as their primary logo until 1990, when it was changed to a white logo. The jet, which used to be flying up towards the sky, was now a simplified design that flew level. Kind of fitting, considering the Jets’ best days were behind them. The Jets used this logo as their primary design for the last six seasons they were in Winnipeg. The team reached the playoffs in three of those years, but didn’t get past the first round. In their final game in Manitoba, the Jets lost Game 6 to the Detroit Red Wings in front of a sold out crowd. After 1995-96, the original Winnipeg franchise was no more, as it picked up and moved south, changing the name, logo and colors to something completely different.
coyotes3 A name the team contest resulted in “Coyotes” becoming the new moniker for the team that relocated to the Arizona desert. They moved away from the red white and blue colors of the Jets and came up with a mash of multi-colors to make up one of the NHL’s ugliest logos of all time. The Picasso Coyote, which came at the peak of logo experimentation, was a running joke from Day 1 and was unlike anything that came before it. Somehow, this logo lasted seven seasons before the team decided it was a good idea to clean up the look. Even worse, they
used this as a third jersey. Wow. The Coyotes reached the playoffs five times in the seven seasons they used this logo, but continued Winnipeg’s run of bad Stanley Cup playoff luck by not getting out of the first round. This franchise now hadn’t reached Round 2 since 1987, a run of futility that would continue until 2012.
coyotes4 Finally, we get to the good one. In 2003-04, the Coyotes introduced a much cleaner, less experimental design to represent the team – and it’s a wonderful look. The color scheme was simplified to a brick and tan and the logo is way less busy than the hectic design that came before it. Though the team had tons of relocation speculation swirling around it, the desert version of this franchise also found its greatest success with this logo, finally breaking out in the 2012 playoffs and reaching the Western Conference final. However, they haven’t returned to the playoffs since. We’re fans of this logo because we think it looks sharp. The colors and design are nice and clean, yet not overly simplistic and certainly not cartoonish. It’s an artistic design that also, literally, flashes its teeth. Wonderful combination.
Dissenting opinion:
“This is a perfectly good logo. It looks like what it’s supposed to look like, which, sadly, is more than many NHL teams can say about their logos. The howling Coyote has a good intimidation factor, and the design has some artistic flair. That said, this looks a bit new age for my taste. I’d thus have it closer to 10th. The interesting question is: am I subconsciously biased against this image, simply because it’s relatively new? Food for thought.”
– Matt Larkin

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