Coyotes: General Manager Don Maloney Fired


The Arizona Coyotes have announced that General Manager Don Maloney has been relieved of his duties. There had been rumors of such a move being made over the weekend, but as of Monday, it’s official.  In a press release, Coyotes President and CEO Anthony LeBlanc released the following statement,

"“On behalf of our ownership group and the entire Arizona Coyotes organization, I would like to sincerely thank Don for all of his hard work and the many contributions he made to our organization during his tenure.”"

The timing of the announcement does come as bit of a surprise. As fans of all sports are accustom to, management changes happen quite often after several seasons of under performing. Yes, the season just ended and yes, the Coyotes will be watching the playoffs and not participating in them, but that wasn’t the reason Maloney was fired.

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Coming off of one of the worst seasons in team history in 2014-15, changes needed to be made, and they were. The organization committed to a rebuild. With that commitment, comes the assumption that the team is not going to immediately compete for a playoff spot. To say missing the playoffs this season as a reason for the firing would be puzzling. The 2015-16 Coyotes were a rebuild team. They did perform better than anticipated, but they were not a playoff team and that was just fine. A young core was put into place with one of the highest rated prospect pools in the NHL. The future is bright, and the team is poised to succeed for years to come.

So, why would the architect of the seemingly successful rebuild lose his job just as it is about to come to fruition? It would appear that a difference in vision and management style could be the reasons Maloney was let go. LeBlanc held a press conference at Gila River Arena on Monday to address the situation. During the conference, LeBlanc alluded to Coyotes ownership having their own vision for the future of the team including how they would like the GM position to be run.

"“Essentially, it is fair to say that there has been a difference in philosophy, in regards to the overall philosophy of how the ownership group would like to manage the operation moving forward.”"

In regards to how the ownership group would like the position to be run, LeBlanc continued by saying,

"“We have made a decision that we wish to operate in a different manor and under a different overarching philosophy. This is about a few key points moving forward, collaboration, communication and the modernization of our entire processes.”"

LeBlanc didn’t go into specifics, but based off of these comments, it’s fair to say that ownership did not like the way in which Maloney operated. LeBlanc reiterated these key points of communicating and collaborating and that they would be essential to the hiring process for Maloney’s replacement.

During the conference, LeBlanc stated there would be no interim general manager and that the two Assistant General Managers, Chris O’Hearn and John Chayka will run hockey operations until the position is filled. LeBlanc did not go into specifics as to who will replace Maloney, but did give a time table of two to six weeks.

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Maloney served as GM for nine seasons with the organization, and despite all of the off ice turmoil, he was one of the few constants for the organization and fanbase. During his time in Arizona, the Coyotes went 326-291-87 and they made the playoffs three times. His time in Arizona was highlighted by a 107 point season, back to back 90 point seasons, a Pacific Division title and a deep run into the Western Conference Finals.