GLENDALE, AZ—The Arizona Coyotes announced on Tuesday, July 11 that they swore in former player Rick Tocchet as their new Head Coach.
Tocchet, 53, will be the Coyotes’ 18th Head Coach in franchise history. Most recently, he served three seasons as an Assistant for the Pittsburgh Penguins (beginning in 2014), contributing to their back-to-back Stanley Cup wins in 2016 and 2017. The Penguins were the first team since the Detroit Red Wings in 1997 and 1998 to take home two consecutive Cup wins.
A former left winger who hails from Scarborough, Ontario, Tocchet spent a total of 18 seasons in the NHL playing for the Philadelphia Flyers (who selected him 121st overall in the 1983 NHL draft), Pittsburgh, Los Angeles Kings, Boston Bruins, Washington Capitals, and Arizona (who were then known as the Phoenix Coyotes) before returning to Philadelphia for his final three seasons.
Standing at 6 feet tall and weighing 214 pounds, he appeared in 1144 regular season NHL games and posted 952 points (440 goals and 512 assists) and 2,972 penalty minutes. In 145 career playoff games, he had 112 points (52 goals and 60 assists) and 252 penalty minutes. In 1997-1998 and 1998-1999 seasons, Tocchet ranked second on the Coyotes with 26 goals scored each season. He is a four-time NHL All-Star who won the Cup with Pittsburgh in 1992 and advanced to the Stanley Cup Finals with Philadelphia in 1987.
Tocchet’s coaching career commenced midway through 2002-2003 season with the Colorado Avalanche, for whom he served as an assistant for two seasons. He would then step in as Phoenix’s interim Head Coach in December 2005, while then-Head Coach and Hockey Hall of Fame inductee Wayne Gretzky was on leave tending to his ill mother. During the 2008-2009 season, he joined the Tampa Bay Lightning as an Assistant Coach. Halfway through the season, he was appointed Head Coach, a position he would hold the following season before transitioning to Pittsburgh.
“I’m extremely happy to be back with the Coyotes organization. I loved playing and coaching here in the Valley and have always considered Arizona my home. We have a great young team with a ton of talent and I’m excited about leading this group of players. I’d like to thank Mr. Barroway and John Chayka for this incredible opportunity. I can’t wait to get started,” Tocchet said in a statement.
Tocchet and Arizona’s new President and CEO, Steve Patterson (who was sworn in on Wednesday), were formally introduced at a press conference in Glendale on July 13.