GLENDALE, Ariz. — There was plenty of Coyotes news on Thursday aside from the hiring of general manager John Chayka, the restructuring of the hockey operations department and the new, five-year contract for coach Dave Tippett. Here are the bullet points.
— The Coyotes expect to hire a veteran assistant general manager to help shepherd Chayka through some of the finer points of the job. Coyotes president and CEO Anthony LeBlanc said the team hopes to have the position filled by the NHL Draft on June 24-25 in Buffalo. Coyotes co-owner Gary Drummond said the team is eyeing candidates still currently active in the playoffs so they will likely wait until the postseason has ended for those prospective candidates. Multiple sources said Dallas assistant GM Les Jackson is still very much a possibility for the job.
— Drummond said the Coyotes are considering augmenting their scouting department, particularly in western Canada, the U.S. college ranks and Europe where he feels they have deficiencies. “We’re heavily in eastern Canada, which seems to have put us in good stead the last two or three years, but longer term we want to have more balanced coverage.”
— Drummond said the Coyotes are close to hiring a chief operating officer “who happens to be a pretty young Stanford graduate. It wasn’t a great plan of ours to hire young guys but we probably are going to do this.”
— LeBlanc joked that with the Chayka hiring he had at least “hit one of the timeline expectations that we outlined.” The other one is the arena announcement which he originally said he expected to come by the end of the regular season, and then modified a couple times.
“There has been significant progress in the past couple of weeks and I would be remiss not to say that I have been very impressed in particular with the leadership of Mayor Greg Stanton of the City of Phoenix,” LeBlanc said. “We have had substantial discussions with the City of Phoenix over the past week to two weeks.
“I put out a soft timeline in the past which of course just expired on Sunday, May 1. What that did provide is it allowed us to see who was really interested in a partnership and who wasn’t. The good news is all of the groups we talked to (are interested).
“I’ve seen all comments from the fan base that say ‘oh, please don’t say two weeks’ so I won’t say two weeks. Maybe I should learn my lesson. I’ll give myself a longer timeline. I’d be shocked if we get to the Draft on June 24 without a significant announcement in regards to the new arena.”
— Tippett said the team is in discussions with assistant coach Newell Brown on a new deal, and then the staff will move on to a new deal for goalie coach Jon Elkin.
— Chayka, when asked how active the Coyotes would be this summer on the personnel front: “We’re going to be aggressive and we’re going to be active to pursue as many opportunities as we can to improve.”
— Four Coyotes were expected to play in the World Championships which began Friday: Forward Max Domi (Canada), defenseman Connor Murphy (third straight tournament for the United States), forward Tobias Rieder (Germany) and forward Sergei Plotnikov (Russia).
— LeBlanc met with Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild on Thursday to discuss some of the concerns the mayor had with the deal the two sides are trying to broker to bring the Coyotes’ yet-to-be-named AHL team to Tucson this fall. LeBlanc came away with the impression he had addressed most of the mayor’s concerns. The AHL’s Board of Governors is expected to vote on the sale of the Springfield Falcons to the Coyotes on Tuesday.
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