While 2013 was a tough year, the combo of GM Don Maloney and head coach Dave Tippett have managed to make the Phoenix Coyotes competitive despite an array of off-the-ice headaches. It appears that notion hasn’t been lost on IceArizona, the team’s new ownership group.
Tuesday represents the official press conference, yet the group rolled out their vision for the team that boasts some key changes – and some important similarities – for the Coyotes’ future.
Putting the team together
Principle owner George Gosbee told Fox Sports Arizona’s Craig Morgan that the team expects a budget increase in each of the next four seasons. Tippett seems pleased with that development, although he warned that the team must use that influx of cash wisely (or else they might become “shackled” by bad decisions).
While the money is likely to change, the people spending it stays the same, as the Arizona Republic’s Sarah McLellan reports that the ownership group raved about Maloney and Tippett.
Not too surprisingly, more money doesn’t mean that the Coyotes will rank among the NHL’s biggest spenders; the group stated that they won’t spend to the cap.
Promoting the team
The Phoenix Coyotes will eventually become the Arizona Coyotes, although that reportedly won’t happen any sooner than 2014-15. Alternate governor Anthony LeBlanc seems excited about beefing up the team’s staff outside of hockey operations, although those tweaks might take some time.
“This has been an operation that has been running on a skeleton crew for years,” LeBlanc said.
Keeping the team
IceArizona is saying all the right things, yet they didn’t totally deny the threat of the five-year out clause, either.
Still, improving the team’s marketing – and possibly the group of players on the ice – might pave the way for the Coyotes to find their niche.
If nothing else, the commentary seems pretty celebratory, as the Coyotes can finally focus their attention on seeking on-ice triumphs more than anything else.