Arizona Coyotes general manager Bill Armstrong announced this afternoon that the team has agreed to mutually part ways with head coach Rick Tocchet. Tocchet, whose contract was set to expire this offseason, will not return as the team’s head coach next season. In addition, the team has announced that the search for their new head coach will begin immediately.
When asked about the decision to part ways with Tocchet, Armstrong had this to say:
“This was a very difficult decision, but we believe that it is time for a new direction and new leadership. Rick is a very good coach and an incredible person, and we sincerely appreciate all his hard work and dedication to the Coyotes the past four years. We are grateful for everything that he has done for our organization and wish him the best of luck in the future.”
Tocchet was hired as the Coyotes head coach on July 11, 2017, and served as the team’s head coach for the past four seasons. During his tenure behind the bench, Tocchet led the Coyotes to a record of 125-131-34 in 290 games. In his four years in Arizona, Tocchet guided the Coyotes to the playoffs in 2020 for the first time since the 2011-12 season.
When asked about the decision and his time in Arizona, Tocchet had this to say:
“I have great respect and admiration for all the players I coached in Arizona, along with my coaching staff, the medical staff, the equipment managers, the PR staff and the team services staff. They are the best in the NHL, and I appreciate all their help and hard work. I also want to thank the fans of the Valley for all their support. I have loved living, playing, and coaching in Arizona and this place will always be special to me.”
The Coyotes will immediately start the search for their eighth head coach in franchise history. The decision to part ways comes after the team went 24-26-6 and finished in fifth place in the Honda West Division in 2020-21. This included going 8-12-1 down the stretch in the final two months of the season, which saw the team fall out of playoff position.
Prior to joining the Coyotes, Tocchet served as the head coach of the Tampa Bay Lightning from 2008 to 2010, where he posted a record of 53-69-26. More information on this story will be provided at a later time once it becomes available.
Mr. Evans is originally from Greenville, SC but currently resides in Charleston, SC. Mr. Evans has been involved in hockey for the past 16 years now, following the Arizona Coyotes and St. Louis Blues. During his free time, Mr. Evans enjoys spending time with his family and girlfriend as well as being up in the mountains or taking pictures. Prior to joining The Hockey Writers, Mr. Evans has been covering the ECHL’s South Carolina Stingrays for The Puck Authority during the current hockey season. You can find Mr. Evans on Twitter at @HaynesPEvans.