The next regime of Arizona Coyotes hockey is starting to take shape.
The team announced on Thursday that it has named André Tourigny as its head coach, holding true to general manager Bill Armstrong’s desire to complete the search prior to the 2021 NHL entry draft. Tourigny, who replaces former coach Rick Tocchet after his departure on May 9, will likely face a tough rebuilding task, considering the Coyotes are likely to move forward with what may be a lengthy rebuild.
Though time will tell, it’s a solid hire by Armstrong, who was tasked with his first coaching search since joining the Coyotes last year.
Tourigny Has a Winning Pedigree and is No Stranger to Development
A look at his most recent coaching track record is an encouraging sign for Arizona fans starving for success, as Tourigny has spent the past four seasons in the Ontario Hockey League with the Ottawa 67s, as both head coach and Vice President of Hockey Operations. He’s experienced major success over the past two seasons (2018-19 and 2019-20), leading Ottawa to the league’s best record each season while earning the Matt Leyden Trophy as the OHL’s top coach both times.
He also won the Brian Kilrea Coach of the Year Award in the Canadian Hockey League for the 2019-20 season.
Of course, none of this even takes into account his international success, which most recently saw him win a silver medal at the U20 World Junior Championships as head coach, and a gold medal at the World Championships as an assistant coach to newly-minted New York Rangers head coach Gerard Gallant.
“We are very pleased to name André as the new head coach of the Arizona Coyotes,” Armstrong said in a release. “André is a tremendous person and one of the best young coaches in the game today. He is a winner, a great teacher and a strong communicator who has a proven track record of developing young talent.”
Tourigny broke into coaching in the 1998-99 Quebec Major Junior Hockey League season with the Shawinigan Cataractes, and has been behind the bench in some capacity ever since. He has spent time in the NHL as an assistant with both the Colorado Avalanche (2013-2014 & 2014-15) and Ottawa Senators (2015-16), but this is first NHL head coaching gig.
He Has Already Worked With Kuemper, Hill, and Bunting
A bonus on Tourigny’s hire is that he already has a level of familiarity with some of the Coyotes, including goalies Darcy Kuemper and Adin Hill, having worked with them at the international level. He also worked with forward Michael Bunting, who has 14 points on 11 goals and three assists in just 26 games with the club. He’s also worked quite a bit with former captain Shane Doan, who also works in Arizona’s front office.
“It is an honor to be named as the head coach of the Arizona Coyotes,” Tourigny said in a release. “I am looking forward to working with this group and our players to build a winning culture here in the desert for our loyal and passionate fan base.”
The 47-year-old posted a 337-336-20 career coaching record in 11 seasons with the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies, setting a QMJHL record for most games coached with one franchise. and he won the Ron Lapointe Trophy in 2005-06 as the QMJHL Coach of the Year. Other accolades include additional U20 World Junior Championship medals (2009-20 and 2010-11), a Hlinka Memorial Gold Medal (2018-19), and a U20 World Junior Champinoship gold medal (2019-20).
Time will tell if this was the right move, but for Armstrong’s first major coaching move in Arizona, all of the proverbial boxes have been checked off.
A die-hard hockey fan in the desert, and proud Iowa State alum. Covers the Detroit Red Wings for The Hockey Writers.