Coyotes CEO, president Ahron Cohen no longer with team
May 14, 2020, 9:07 AM | Updated: 9:07 am
(Arizona Sports/Matt Layman)
The Arizona Coyotes and president and CEO Ahron Cohen have “mutually agreed to part ways,” the organization announced Thursday.
A source had confirmed to Arizona Sports on Tuesday a report that Cohen was no longer with the organization. The team said it will immediately begin a search for a new president and CEO.
The news comes less than a year after billionaire businessman Alex Meruelo took over majority ownership of the team, purchasing the Coyotes from Andrew Barroway in July. Cohen joined the Coyotes in August of 2015 while the majority owner was still Barroway, who now holds just a minority share of the team.
“I would like to thank Ahron for his great work before and through my purchase of the team, and for his leadership over the past year, including during these very challenging times,” Meruelo said in a statement.
Cohen, in his first role with the Coyotes, was the chief operating officer and chief legal officer. He was elevated to the position of president and CEO in July 2018, replacing Steve Patterson, whose hire was intended to spur progress in securing a new arena. Patterson held that position for one year.
“I would like to thank Mr. Meruelo for allowing me the opportunity to lead this incredible franchise during this transition from his acquisition,” Cohen said in a statement. “I wish him and the team all the best and will continue to root for the Coyotes.”
Under Cohen, the messaging from the top of the organization was often focused around community, while the on-ice product took steps forward under general manager John Chayka and head coach Rick Tocchet. In January, Cohen said the team had already sold out as many games in the 2019-20 season as it did in all of the previous season.
Cohen, according to his biography on the team website, has served as a board member of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council, the Arizona Tourism & Lodging Association, Greater Phoenix Leadership and multiple boards within the Arizona State University community.
Cohen attended Bowdoin College in Maine, and later graduated from ASU’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law. He also has worked at a Phoenix law office as a corporate attorney and interned with the Minnesota Vikings.
With the Coyotes’ off-ice challenges, such as securing a new arena and having been rated by Forbes as the lowest team valuation in the NHL, it’s plausible that the new owner Meruelo wanted his own hand-picked CEO to oversee the business side of the organization. However, a reason for Cohen’s departure at this point is only speculative.
Cohen’s departure was first reported by The Athletic’s Craig Morgan.