The Phoenix Roadrunners was a professional ice hockey team that called the US Airways Center home. If that name sounds familiar, it's because there used to be another Phoenix Roadrunners hockey team in town.
A Brief History of the Phoenix Roadrunners
In 1967 the Phoenix Roadrunners of the WHL became Arizona’s first professional sports team. They played ice hockey at the Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix. The Roadrunners were the WHL champions in both 1973 and 1974. The WHL disbanded in 1974, but the Roadrunners became a part of the WHA, and subsequently the Pacific Hockey League. The PHL ceased operations in 1979.
Ten years later, in 1989, the Roadrunners were back as part of the International Hockey League. They became the "farm team" for the Los Angeles Kings in 1990. When the Phoenix Coyotes came to town from Winnipeg in 1996, the Roadrunners were unable to compete with the NHL franchise. The Phoenix Roadrunners, once again, left town.
The Phoenix Coyotes moved to Gila River Arena in Glendale, AZ. Then, in 2005, the same people that own the Phoenix Suns, Arizona Rattlers and Phoenix Mercury, announced they had purchased an ECHL hockey franchise. They also obtained the rights to the name, so that Phoenix could have their Roadrunners once again. They now play at the Talking Stick Resort Arena (formerly known as US Airways Center and America West Arena) in downtown Phoenix. They changed the name of the hockey club to the Arizona Coyotes in 2014.
The ECHL (used to stand for East Coast Hockey league, but now it is no longer an acronym for anything!) is AA hockey. There are two conferences, each divided into two divisions. The Phoenix Roadrunners played in the National Conference, West Division. Other teams in our division were the Alaska Aces, Utah Grizzlies, Victoria Salmon Kings and the Idaho Steelheads.
Fans were happy that popular Rocky Roadrunner returned as the team mascot!
In April 2009 at the end of the regular season, it was announced that the team would cease operations.