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Coyotes part ways with director of amateur scouting Tim Bernhardt

Screenshot of Coyotes director of amateur scouting Tim Bernhardt (ArizonaCoyotes.com)

The Coyotes have parted ways with director of amateur scouting Tim Bernhardt, Bernhardt told ArizonaSports.com on Sunday. The Coyotes also parted ways with U.S. amateur scout Rob Pulford, general manager John Chayka confirmed.

“We appreciate Tim and what he did for us,” Chayka said. “He did a lot of good things, he set a foundation for us, he’s done it a long time and he’s a really good person.

“We’re always continuing to look to evolve and try to get better. Our results have been good but we want them to be the best. I brought in [assistant GM/director of scouting] Lindsay Hofford to oversee the entire scouting staff and build out a methodology and philosophy and find the best people to fit that philosophy. With where Tim was at in his career and life, this initiative wasn’t something he was looking for.”

Chayka said that Hofford would continue to oversee all scouting. Chayka has not decided yet whether he will name a new director of amateur scouting.

Hofford is a former director of scouting for the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League. He joined the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2015 and served as an amateur scout. He is also the founder and CEO of the Pro Hockey Development Group.

Hofford got into some legal trouble last summer when he stole golf cart, collided with another vehicle and left the scene. He was charged with driving while intoxicated, unauthorized use of a vehicle without the owner’s consent, leaving the scene of an accident, making an unsafe lane change and refusing to take a breath test.

“All of our employees are held to the highest standard and completely vetted,” Chayka said. “It was obviously not an issue in Toronto since he continued to work there and we looked into it before the interview process and were satisfied.”

Bernhardt confirmed that new direction of the scouting department was not something he wanted to pursue.

“There are some new people on board and sometimes it just isn’t going to work out,” said Bernhardt, who still has a year left on his contract. “I have been contemplating retirement for a while so I’ll see what’s out there. If there’s the right fit anywhere I’d still probably be looking to take a lesser role and do some work. We’ll just see how it goes.”

After a 16-year playing career, spent mostly in the American and Central hockey leagues, Bernhardt broke into the scouting business by working three seasons for NHL Central Scouting. By the time he and then-Dallas Stars general manager Joe Nieuwendyk parted ways in 2011, Bernhardt had amassed 13 years as the Stars’ director of amateur scouting, 18 years in the organization (with a Stanley Cup, another Cup Final appearance and four conference finals appearances on his resume) and 21 years in the business.

Bernhardt oversaw the past five drafts since taking over as director of amateur scouting for Rick Knickle after a short stint as a Coyotes amateur scout. In that span, the Coyotes have drafted Brendan Perlini, Christian Dvorak, Dylan Strome, Christian Fischer, Clayton Keller and Jakob Chychrun, along with prospects Adin Hill, Nick Merkley, Kyle Capobianco, Pierre-Olivier Joseph, Filip Westerlund, Tyler Steenbergen, Barrett Hayton and Kevin Bahl.

In a story for ArizonaSports.com just before the 2018 NHL Draft in Dallas, Stars senior advisor Les Jackson praised Bernhardt’s work.

“Tim is one of the better talent evaluators in the league,” said Jackson, who worked alongside Bernhardt for his entire tenure in Dallas. “Working in NHL Central Scouting gave him a real good base of the industry and what to do within amateur scouting, but he has grown and evolved – changed with the game – and he has established a foundation for how amateur scouting works.”

Before the draft, Chayka, 29, noted how valuable it was to have someone with Bernhardt’s breadth and length of experience.

“It’s one of those jobs and roles where experience really matters and he’s got a lot of it,” Chayka said. “I like his process, I like how he analyzes the different alternatives and how he values the different variables. He’s got a great eye and he manages his staff very well.

“As a manager, there’s always a lot of different things going on so you need good leaders in place. He just owns this job and takes responsibility for all aspects of it. You learn a lot from a guy like him.”

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