Phoenix Coyotes CEO and president Anthony LeBlanc could not be more thrilled with the direction the franchise has gone in less than six months after his group, Renaissance Sports and Entertainment, took over control from the National Hockey League.
LeBlanc, who was a guest on Arizona Sports 620’s Doug & Wolf Wednesday, said the team is up somewhere in the neighborhood of 15 percent when it comes to paid attendance year-to-year and incomparable number when it comes to sponsorships.
While things are going very well from a business standpoint, they are also going equally well on the ice.
The Coyotes head into Thursday night’s game in Toronto with an 18-10-5 record and remain just four points outside of the second Wild Card spot in the Western Conference. Additionally, the team has made notable improvements in terms of overall scoring (No. 5 in the NHL) and power play percentage (No. 8 in the NHL).
Although LeBlanc admitted he tries to stay out of the way when it comes to the business of hockey, he did suggest that the team’s success has plenty to do with their head coach, Dave Tippett.
“I’ve never seen such a methodical coach in my entire life,” LeBlanc said. “I’ve never seen someone wear losses the way Dave does. For example, the last time I flew back with the team from Vancouver — we’re talking a long flight — and Dave was up the entire flight, we got in at some like three o’clock, and he was watching game film the entire flight.”
In four-plus seasons since taking over as the Coyotes’ coach before the 2009-10 campaign, Tippett has compiled a 174-106-58 record and led the team to three playoff appearances, including a trip to the 2012 Western Conference Finals.
When asked how he’d describe his veteran coach, the first-year owner put it rather succinctly.
“He’s a scientist when it comes to the sport,” said LeBlanc.
“He wears these losses, and last night [in Montreal] is another one that is very frustrating to a guy like Dave.”