Arizona Coyotes agree to part ways with Head Coach Rick Tocchet


Nicholas Tirella/SCC

Rick Tocchet skating with the team during a practice session.

James Mackey, Reporter

The Arizona Coyotes announced in a press release Sunday, that they had “mutually agreed to part ways” with Head Coach Rick Tocchet.

During his tenure with the Coyotes, Tocchet led Arizona to a 125-131-34 record across 290 games.

He was both a Coyotes player and an assistant coach at different times, before being hired as head coach in July, 2017.

In a video posted by AZ Central, Coyotes forward Connor Garland spoke to the situation.

“You know, it stinks when…you missed the playoffs, and…you don’t do your job as players, and…somebody else has to…pay the price,” Garland said.

During the adjusted COVID bubble portion of the 2020 season, Tocchet led the Coyotes to a qualifying series win over the Nashville Predators.

It was the franchise’s first playoff series win since the 2011-12 season, when they lost in the Western Conference Finals under then head coach, Dave Tippett.

Ultimately, the Coyotes exited the bubble after winning only one of five games in their first round matchup against the Colorado Avalanche and being outscored in the series 22-8.

While losing a head coach is undoubtedly difficult for both coach and player, this split appears to be legitimately mutual.

“Each side agreed life would be better with someone else, and with no contract to bind them,” Kent Somers wrote for the Arizona Republic.

Sommers didn’t seem completely surprised at the move after new GM Bill Armstrong was hired in September 2020.

“It always seemed likely he would want to hire his own coach at some point early in his tenure,” Sommers wrote. “That point is now.”

“It’s been an honor to coach the Coyotes the past four seasons,” Tocchet said in an announcement. “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.”