Coyotes get win in final Arizona game; fans show plenty of love

The Arizona Coyotes gave their fans one last win, and their fans gave them plenty of love in the final game of the franchise’s 28-year run in the state.

The Coyotes defeated the Edmonton Oilers 5-2 on Wednesday night, but the score really was secondary as the team stayed on the ice thanking fans. The fans, many dressed for a final "Whiteout," gave the team a last standing ovation sendoff that filled Mullett arena with emotion.

It’s expected that within a few days, the NHL officially will announce that the franchise, which moved to Phoenix from Winnipeg in 1996, will relocate to Salt Lake City.

A night for history

Several prominent players in Coyotes history attended the final game, but one of the most important pieces of history was also there: Shane Doan’s retirement banner.

Doan’s banner hung in the rafters in Glendale from 2019 to the Coyotes final game there in 2022 after playing 20 years in Arizona. But when the team’s lease expired in Glendale, the Coyotes swiftly moved out of what was then Gila River Arena and didn’t take their belongings.

Doan’s banner was sitting in a box in a storage room at the arena and was recovered by longtime fan Matthew Jacobson, who delivered the banner to Doan before Wednesday’s game.

Fans start an anti-Salt Lake City chant

With the crowd covered in white shirts to bring back the better days of the Arizona Coyotes “White Out” in the playoffs, the atmosphere at Mullett Arena was bittersweet Wednesday night.

Signs lined up on the boards for warmups with thank you messages to players. Fans organized parties in the parking lot. Players like Clayton Keller made sure to give sticks and pucks to fans.

The move created a flurry of emotions, including fans starting an anti-Salt Lake City chant during the second period.

Overshadowed by the grim nature of the night, forward Aku Raty made his NHL debut for a team that will soon be a memory.

Going back to the roots, there was a smattering of “still there” chants during the national anthem, a tradition that was born from years of relocation rumors.

In turn, the Coyotes smothered the playoff-bound Oilers after the puck dropped and gave the fans something to cheer for. The building hit a high when Liam O’Brien scored for the Coyotes in the first two minutes and carried over in big moments through the game.

This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Coyotes send fans off with comfortable win in final Arizona game