Report: Coyotes coach Andre Tourigny demanding info about Utah sale, relocation rumors

Apr 12, 2024, 10:50 AM | Updated: 11:12 am

Arizona Coyotes head coach Andre Tourigny has demanded more information from the team since reports indicated it could be sold and relocated to Salt Lake City, Utah, as soon as next season, reports Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.

The dam of information publicly began to break on Wednesday, after Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli and Arizona Sports’ John Gambadoro’s reported about significant relocation talks. ESPN’s Emily Kaplan and Greg Wyshynski added that Arizona staffers and players have been getting their updates from media reports rather than from the team itself.

Joining Sportsnet 590 The Fan’s Jeff Marek on Friday, Friedman explained that Tourigny has “sort of taken the role of I’m going to speak up a little here.”

Tourigny spoke candidly to Coyotes broadcaster Todd Walsh and to Arizona Sports’ Wolf & Luke since the news of a potential relocation broke.

“I have heard internally he has made his feelings known. I think the players and the staff have been aware of that Tourigny has kind of taken the responsibility on himself,” Friedman said on The Jeff Marek Show.

“He’s got a contract, he’s a bit more secure than some other guys. … Judging from the way he’s talking, he feels like a lot of other people, that this has been very poorly handled. People deserve to have a better idea of what’s going on.”

Friedman said Tourigny spoke up in some fashion privately as the Coyotes traveled from Vancouver to Edmonton between games.

“I think he basically asked, like, where’s the information?” Friedman said. “People deserve to have information. They deserve to know what’s going on. I’ve heard that it’s been hugely appreciated.”

Walsh reports that Coyotes general manager Bill Armstrong is traveling to address the team on Friday night.

It was reported on Wednesday that Utah Jazz owner Ryan Smith has been going through the NHL league office about a potential acquisition of the Coyotes and not dealing directly with current Coyotes owner Alex Meruelo.

The Coyotes, as well as the NHL, have since declined to comment but did not deny reports about a potential sale.

Gambadoro reports that there are three avenues to go down as the NHL has run out of patience with the team not having a permanent home arena. The most likely of those, according to Gambadoro, is a sale to Smith’s group with the continued pursuit of winning a land auction in Phoenix to pursue a new expansion team down the road.

Tourigny told Wolf & Luke on Thursday that he is less concerned for his players and more for his staffers on year-to-year contracts.

“I will tell you where it has the most impact, is we have 31 staff members who don’t have a contract for next year,” Tourigny said. “Those guys have families, some are divorced. Some, their kids are in Phoenix and are divorced. Some have a wife or a partner who has a job, who will now have to make a decision if the team is moving. Some guys have kids at university, they have to pay for university. Those kinds of things are real. That’s emotion, that’s real life. That’s what we are in.”

Tourigny in that interview hinted that he was in the dark about the potential relocation, which has been concidered fluid.

“I did not hear anything … I don’t know what’s going on,” Tourigny said. “One thing I know … the rumors are strong, and when we talk, the staff and their families are extremely impacted and that’s where it creates a really difficult situation for us. (A player) can be traded at any time. A coach can be fired at any time. That’s real life, that’s the way it is. For the people we work with, we’re in sports but we forget we’re in the people business. The people we are working with are definitely impacted right now.”

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