Arizona hockey fans can breathe a little easier – the Coyotes aren’t going anywhere. Arizona Coyotes President and CEO Ahron Cohen sent a letter to season ticket holders last week assuring them that the team is staying in the state.
Reports surfaced late last year about a potential sale of the team to a different owner. Cohen debunked these rumors in his letter. “This [investment] process has at its core one key pre-condition: any investment in our team must be laser-focused on helping the Coyotes achieve a long-term sustainable arena solution here in Arizona,” Cohen wrote.
The Coyotes have experienced significant growth in the past few years. Cohen took over as President and CEO this summer, Rick Tocchet became the new head coach last season, and John Chayka is the new General Manager. Cohen believes the transition to new leadership will help the team burgeon for many seasons.
“John’s background is in hockey analytics. When he came in, his philosophy was getting the right people in place and getting people who want to make us better and who are competitive and want to win,” Cohen said. “We brought in Coach Tocchet and found those same abilities. We’re impressed with his ability to do that with some of our younger players. He’s able to individualize his coaching abilities so he can get on the same level as players and help them all grow.”
Along with these new leadership assets, Cohen also highlights the team’s summer re-signing of All-Star Oliver Ekman-Larsson. Cohen points out that Ekman-Larsson is one of the best defenders in hockey and could sign with any team he chooses. However, according to Cohen, “He believes in Tocchet and the team and chose to stay here.”
Additionally, the Coyotes provide much more to Arizona than just hockey. Last year, the Coyotes donated more than $2.7 million to various organizations in the community. Moving forward, the team plans to invest $500 thousand in a physical education curriculum that will promote health and wellness in hundreds of schools across the Valley.
Cohen emphasizes that Arizona is the home of the Coyotes – the citizens care about the team, and they will do anything in their power to keep the team here. “This is our home. There’s no place we would rather be than Arizona,” he said. “This is the place that is our long-term home going on 22 seasons. This is a phenomenal hockey market. I’m out in the community every day talking to various people in the state, and the thing that really resonates with me is how much people love hockey.
Hockey fans and members of the community can take a deep breath; the Arizona Coyotes are here to stay.