Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press
The Arizona Coyotes announced Tuesday they hired former NHL winger Rick Tocchet to become their new head coach by signing him to a multiyear contract.
Tocchet spent 18 seasons in the NHL with six different organizations, including a three-year stint with the then-Phoenix Coyotes. He most recently served as an assistant coach with the two-time reigning Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins.
“We are very pleased to name Rick as our new head coach,” Coyotes general manager John Chayka said. “Rick is an excellent coach and a proven winner. While with the Penguins, he won a Stanley Cup as a player and two cups as a coach. He’s experienced, knowledgeable and is a great leader and communicator. He’s also a former Coyotes player and assistant coach and the perfect fit for us. We’re thrilled to have him re-join our organization.”
Tocchet, a sixth-round pick of the Philadelphia Flyers in 1983, scored 508 points (232 goals and 276 assists) across 621 career games. He earned four All-Star Game appearances along the way.
“I’m extremely happy to be back with the Coyotes organization,” he said. “I loved playing and coaching here in the Valley and have always considered Arizona my home. We have a great young team with a ton of talent and I’m excited about leading this group of players. I’d like to thank Mr. [Andrew] Barroway and John Chayka for this incredible opportunity. I can’t wait to get started.”
The 53-year-old Canadian will be tasked with helping the Coyotes, which have spent the past handful of years rebuilding, back to the postseason. They haven’t reached the playoffs since the 2011-12 season, when they tried the conference finals before losing to the Los Angeles Kings.
Things are looking up, though. Along with the young talent acquiring during the rebuild, Sean Tierney of HockeyGraphs noted Arizona is having one of the league’s best offseasons:
Sean Tierney @ChartingHockey
Summer GAR added/lost by team.
Car, Dal, Tor, Ari, and Cgy have done well this offseason.
Mtl has spun their wheels.
Chi/Wsh are dying. https://t.co/TSXAVuJTa3
The Coyotes will now hope Tocchet can help put all the pieces together to get the team back trending in the right direction.