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'Throwback Night' Participants Give Thumbs Up to Nostalgic Event

by Dave Vest / Arizona Coyotes

GLENDALE – The Coyotes celebrated the team’s original logo and uniform on Thursday night by staging a "Throwback Night" at Gila River Arena.

The event was a hit.

"It was fun for us to wear those jerseys and it was a great atmosphere in here," said forward Sam Gagner, who sent fans home happy by scoring the game-winning goal to cap a 3-2 shootout victory over Vancouver. "I think everyone had a lot of fun with the night and it’s obviously great to top it off with a win."

The players wore the franchise’s black Kachina-style jerseys for the first time since the team switched logos and uniforms in 2003-04.

Like in the team’s early years, the song "Wearwolves of London" was played in the arena after goals by Tobias Rieder and B.J. Crombeen, and again after the team had secured the win in the shootout.

"I think it’s a neat way to kind of go back in time a little bit," goalie Mike Smith said. "I think they’re great jerseys (and) the logo is awesome… it would be fun to see it implemented into our regular uniforms."

Photo by Norm Hall.

Former Coyotes players Jeremy Roenick, Sean Burke, Craig Janney, Nikolai Khabibulin, Keith Carney and Greg Adams gathered at center ice to drop the ceremonial first puck. Captain Shane Doan, who also wore the black Kachina-style jerseys many, many times before the switch, also took part in the puck drop with his old teammates.

"Once you're teammates, you're always teammates," Roenick said. "You're always going to have that love affair for each other. It's always good coming back here."

Head Coach Dave Tippett said he enjoyed the nostalgic event and that he's a fan of the old uniforms.

"The players were excited about it and it was great to see the fans excited about it and to see the old players come back who have such a history with the team," Tippett said. "(The current players) wore those sweaters proud and played well in the tradition of the old Coyotes."

Janney embraced the chance to visit with some old pals.

"It was just great to see some of the guys," Janney said. "That’s the No. 1 thing you miss when you give up playing. Any athlete of a team sport will tell you (they miss) the locker room and the guys and getting together. It’s always a fun time."

Smith incorporated a special goalie mask into the game. It's theme was a tribute to the original logo but also a tribute to rock and roll icon Alice Cooper, who is a longtime Coyotes fan, on the back plate.

"The mask is too cool," Cooper said. "You know, rock and roll and hockey are very simpatico. During the breaks, it's hard rock music the whole time. It really works."

Cooper attended the game and signed the mask for Smith about an hour before it started. They then posed for photos with it.

"For him to hold up the mask beside his face was pretty eerie, but pretty cool," Smith joked.

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