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Report: Job opportunity caused rift between Coyotes, GM John Chayka

John Chayka of the Arizona Coyotes attends the 2019 NHL Draft at the Rogers Arena on June 21, 2019 in Vancouver, Canada. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Days of speculation around the job status of Arizona Coyotes general manager John Chayka led to a report Saturday about a job opportunity that caused the relationship between the two parties to go south.

According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, the Coyotes were approached during the pandemic about a job opportunity elsewhere for Chayka, and the team gave him permission to explore it. When it became apparent that he might leave the organization, the Coyotes pushed back against the idea of him exiting.

Per Friedman, a source said: “It was not a lateral move. He was not going to be the GM of another NHL team.”

“The two sides discussed the possibility of a ‘transition period’ where the GM would stay through the remainder of Arizona’s season,” Friedman wrote, “but talks fell apart.”

Last week, there were reports that Coyotes owner Alex Meruelo, his son Alex Jr. and CEO Xavier Gutierrez met with free agent-to-be Taylor Hall and that Chayka was not present. Conflicting reports made it unclear the reason for Chayka’s omission from the meeting.

On Saturday, Arizona Sports learned that the Coyotes would not be making public the names of which hockey operations staff would travel with the team to the Edmonton bubble to resume the season that was paused because of the coronavirus pandemic. Another reporter, Craig Morgan, was given the answer “no comment” when he asked a team spokesman whether Chayka was still the team’s GM.

While it’s not clear where the story goes next, it is hard to imagine that the two sides reconcile if the reports are true that Chayka had/has a job opportunity elsewhere and that the relationship between the GM and the team have soured.

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