‘Yotes Notes: Coyotes GM John Chayka ties the knot
GLENDALE, Ariz. — Coyotes general manager John Chayka married Kathryn Lahaie (now Chayka) on Aug. 5 in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario. The couple spent their honeymoon on the Amalfi Coast in Ravello, Italy, and on the Greek island of Santorini.
“It was nice to get away with my wife and see a beautiful part of the world,” said Chayka, who spent nine days in Europe that included a visit to the famed island of Capri, a few books read and a yacht tour around Santorini.
Chayka and Lahaie had been engaged for three years and have known each other for seven. Chayka said he knew Kathryn was “the one” immediately, but his wedding day still made him a bundle of nerves.
“I’ve been through a lot in life for such a young age,” said Chayka, 28, who was named the Coyotes GM in May of 2016 and added the title of president of hockey operations this summer. “I’ve been in front of some big crowds, given some speeches but it’s a pretty heavy and unique feeling; like nothing else.”
The Chaykas arrived home on Sunday and John was meeting with the Coyotes coaching staff on Monday, going over practice plans, game plans, pre-scouts and other things.
Coyotes rookie camp begins on Sept. 7.
TUCSON IN HOLDING PATTERN
The Coyotes’ added several pieces to their minor-league prospect pipeline this offseason, signing goalie Hunter Miska, forwards Michael Latta, Emerson Etem, Jens Looke, Mario Kempe and defenseman Cam Dineen. Roadrunners general manager Steve Sullivan isn’t certain if he’ll add more.
“It’s hard to say when you don’t know what the NHL roster is looking like — who’s going to come into camp and win a job and who’s not,” Sullivan said. “The bones of that hockey club (Tucson) are good right now. You pencil some guys in but you hope some other guys surprise you and won’t be doing that job because they made the NHL roster.
“Jordan Martinook was penciled in for the AHL (in 2015) and then he came in and made team so we had to make an adjustment.”
Sullivan said the possibilities are endless.
“Maybe Emerson Etem wants an opportunity and can prove he belongs. He has NHL experience,” Sullivan said. “Maybe Ryan MacInnis has an unbelievable training camp and gets an opportunity to stay and play. Is Dylan Strome ready? Clayton Keller?
“We’ll wait and see how that plays out first, but hopefully we have enough pieces where we’ll be able to insulate players enough if they do go down that we’ll have a chance to win every single night. We want to make sure we don’t overbook and over-sign players where all of the sudden you’re taking opportunity away.”
VAN RYN’S VALUE
Sullivan on what new Roadrunners coach Mike Van Ryn will add:
“Enthusiasm, and he brings an out-of-the-box way of thinking,” Sullivan said. “He’s always trying to better himself; find different ways how this game can be played and perfected. And a lot of the reason he’s there has to do with skills development, player development and building strong relationships. That’s really a strength of his.”
— Sullivan on the Coyotes’ decision not to sign defenseman Connor Clifton, their fifth-round pick in 2013: “He just wasn’t a fit at this time. It’s not really even about our prospect pool. It’s where we evaluate the player internally. At this point, we didn’t feel comfortable signing him to an entry-level contract.”
Clifton, who played his senior season at Quinnipiac College last year, became an unrestricted free agent last week. Reports had him signing a deal with the Boston Bruins’ AHL affiliate in Providence.