When the Winnipeg Jets moved in 1996, it was a major loss for the city and the province. Winnipeg has always been an odd place for a NHL team. The city is small by any standard and while there are people who have money, it is not as many as in other bigger cities.
When the NHL left in 1996, there was an eleventh hour push to keep the team in town led by Mark Chipman. He was not able to get enough people behind them to help buy the team in the eleventh hour when it is not even known if the NHL would have approved a local group buying the team (The Instigator by Jonathan Gatehouse). This was a bad time for Winnipeg.
The NHL moved the Jets to Phoenix and the Phoenix come Arizona Coyotes. They have had some fun with the team there and there were persistent rumours for the longest time that the Coyotes were prime to move back to Winnipeg (if they had, I would have wanted them named the Snowbirds). True North Sports and Entertainment waiting until the time was right and then targeted the Atlanta Thrashers instead of the Coyotes because of the young players on the team.
But what if the Jets 1.0 never left? What would have happened with the team over the years?