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Perhaps the dry desert isn’t the first place you think of when it comes to ice hockey, but alas, Phoenix has been the proud home to the Arizona Coyotes since 1996.
Originally the NHL Winnipeg Jets, the team was packed away and moved to the Valley of the Sun in July, 1996. The team played their first seven and a half seasons at what was once America West Arena – sharing the facility with their basketball counterparts – the Phoenix Suns.
It became clear the concourse was not fit for professional hockey thus leading to a new made-for-hockey facility erected in Glendale, a western suburb of Phoenix.
The ‘Yotes have competed in the Pacific Division in the Western Conference at Gila River Arena since 2003, and have found recent success. Their brand of exciting, lighting-quick, bone-crunching hockey has lead to a host of playoff berths in the short time they have been a team.
The NHL regular season runs from fall to the early spring. Arizona Coyotes games are synonymous with electric, fan-friendly atmosphere and are a must-see for casual and die-hard hockey fans alike.
Central Arizona is also home to the Arizona State University Sun Devils' number-one ranked hockey program. All home games are played at the Oceanside Ice Arena in Tempe from November through March.
In the southern Arizona city of Tucson, the Arizona Wildcats are slashing their way to prominence as well. The University of Arizona season runs from late September all the way to early March at the Tucson Convention Center. Both the Sun Devils and the Arizona Wildcats are a proud part of the American Collegiate Hockey Association with Division-I programs.