It has been a short, but important year for the Arizona Coyotes. With their new GM Bill Armstrong taking a hold of the team, there was bound to be changes forthcoming. It was obvious from the performance and the fans that the coaching staff had become an issue and that a leadership change would be needed.
On Sunday morning, the Coyotes announced that Rick Tocchet and the team had mutually agreed to part ways. “After meeting with Rick, we have agreed that a coaching change is in the best interest of the club,” Armstrong shared in a statement via press release.
Rich Tocchet accepted the post of head coach after Dave Tippett held down the role for eight seasons. During his tenure as head coach, Arizona made the playoffs for the first time since their 2012 run where they advanced to the Western finals against the Stanley Cup Champion Los Angeles Kings.
However, their first playoff run since 2012 was the year that COVID-19 derailed the season and the remainder of teams played in a bubble in Edmonton. There, the Coyotes beat the Nashville Predators, however, would fall in round one to the Colorado Avalanche.
As of right now, the franchise hasn’t named a replacement, however, there are several names that are circling around the fanbase. Two names that have been mentioned are former Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant, and John Tortorella, who mutually parted with the Columbus Blue Jackets on Sunday. With no frontrunner as of now, Arizona’s next bench boss can still be anyone at this point.
For his career with the Coyotes organization, Tocchet put together a record of 125-131-34. “It’s been an honour to coach the Coyotes the past four seasons,” said the Toronto native. “I have great respect and admiration for all the players I coached in Arizona. I also want to thank the fans of the Valley for all their support. I have loved living, playing, and coaching in Arizona and this place will always be special to me.”