What were you doing when you were 28 years-old? If your name was Riley Cote, an enforcer with the Philadelphia Flyers, you’d be retiring from the NHL to become an assistant coach in the AHL. The Philadelphia Flyers announced today that Cote was hanging it up as a player to become an assistant coach with the Flyers AHL team, the Adirondack Phantoms.
Salary-wise for the Flyers, it’s not a big move for them as Cote was making just $550,000 but this is more likely a move by Cote to change things up for himself. His chances of rejoining the Flyers to become the lead skating pugilist were slim and riding the buses in the AHL to be the fighter at that level can get tiresome. When the Flyers signed enforcer Jody Shelley this off-season, the handwriting was on the wall for Cote that his chances of getting back to the NHL were slim and none. After all, he didn’t get the job back last season even after Dan Carcillo started to play more of an agitator role rather than a brawler and roles in the NHL right now for guys that are straight-up fighters are few and far between. With Shelley taking Cote’s potential shot to make it in Philly, you can understand the position Riley Cote found himself in.
Of course, given that he’s just 28 it’s baffling to hear about a player retiring that young when there hasn’t been a tragic injury involved in cutting short a player’s career. It seems awfully strange to give up on what you love doing but staying in the game as a coach, and as a coach no one is likely to mouth off at either, is a good way to do it, especially when you can better identify with the players than a lot of coaches can. Besides, anyone having any issues can now duke it out with Cote to settle things. I’m kidding… I think.