At least part of the unrest in the Phoenix Coyotes organization is over.
The club agreed to a long-term contract extension with general manager Don Maloney Friday and the deal was announced Tuesday afternoon at Jobing.com Arena.
Of course, due to the ongoing lack of an owner, Maloney’s deal was negotiated with the league and deputy commissioner Bill Daly. The NHL has controlled the Coyotes since 2009 when previous owner Jerry Moyes entered the franchise into Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
“I felt Bill Daly took a page out of my playbook and got himself a good deal,” Maloney joked. “I gave him the Walmart special, he took it and now we turn our focus on some important people, starting with our coach.”
But there is light at the end of the tunnel as far as the ownership situation is concerned. Renaissance Sports & Entertainment, a group headed by Canadian businessmen George Gosbee and Anthony LeBlanc, reached a deal to purchase the team late last week and keep them in Glendale.
“I’m happy and grateful to make a commitment to this franchise and this team,” Maloney said Tuesday. “I’m very, very hopeful that we’re going to be staying and playing winning hockey in Glendale here for a long, long time.”
Maloney, despite thriving in a managerial role with numerous hurdles in his way, looks forward to the day when it’s over.
“I feel I can work with whoever purchases this club and we can make it work,” he said. “We’ve shown over the four years here that we can make it work for less than most people spend.
“So just imagine what it would be like if we could spend as much as a lot of people.”
Maloney’s extension coincided with the club picking up the options on the contracts of associate coach Jim Playfair and goalie coach Sean Burke. That leaves head coach Dave Tippett’s status up in the air. The fourth-year bench boss’ contract is up as well, and Maloney wants to make sure the man who guided the Coyotes to three straight playoff appearances and a berth in the 2012 Western Conference Finals doesn’t go anywhere — although that could be difficult.
“Let’s face it, he’s a terrific coach in a great position to decide where he wants to coach next year,” he said. “We have to work and see if we can come to some understanding that makes him confident enough to sign here with us.
“We’re going to do everything within our power to make that happen.”