Well, the NHL preseason is in full swing, and the Arizona Coyotes are starting to make some of the tough decisions in preparation for the regular season. In addition, the team is preparing for its Kraft Hockeyville exhibition game against the Dallas Stars in El Paso, Texas, while also making additions to its player development and pro scouting departments. Finally, the Coyotes are acting as a league trailblazer by relaxing their gameday dress code requirements.
Let’s dive in!
Coyotes Reduce Camp Roster, Assign Guenther to Edmonton
Arizona began the tough task of reducing its roster, and announced yesterday it assigned 10 players from training camp back to their respective teams. Those players are:
- Dylan Guenther – Edmonton Oil Kings (WHL)
- Cole Hults – Tucson Roadrunners (AHL)
- Ty Emberson – Tucson Roadrunners (AHL)
- Reece Vitelli – Prince Albert Raiders (WHL)
- Matias Maccelli – Tucson Roadrunners (AHL)
- David Tendeck – Tucson Roadrunners (AHL)
- Manix Landry – Gatineau Olympiques (QMJHL)
- Ben McCartney – Tucson Roadrunners (AHL)
- Liam Kirk – Tucson Roadrunners (AHL)
- Cameron Crotty – Tucson Roadrunners (AHL)
Their camp roster is technically down to 39 players, but Cam Dineen, Hudson Fasching, Dysin Mayo and Blake Speers were also placed on waivers Thursday, so the roster will be reduced to 35 once they clear.
Teams need to get their rosters down to 23 prior to the start of the season, so the Coyotes still have 12 cuts to make, assuming the aforementioned players on waivers clear as expected. Arizona’s first regular season game is Oct. 14 in Columbus.
Coyotes Start Preseason Hot, Off to 2-0 Start
The Coyotes have played two games so far this preseason, and are 2-0 to this point after wins over the Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks. Though only exhibition games, the team has shown promise in multiple facets of the game, including goaltending and the penalty kill. Through two games, Arizona has outscored its opponents 6-2, with solid performances from goalies Josef Korenar, Anson Thornton, Ivan Prosvetov, and Karel Vejmelka.
Vejmelka and Thornton remain perfect so far, having gone 14-for-14 and 17-for-17 in their respective appearances. Forward Lawson Crouse leads the team to this point with two goals, and Guenther also impressed with two points on one goal and one assist against the Kings.
The Coyotes’ next preseason game is Saturday afternoon at 3 pm local time against the Ducks at Gila River Arena.
Kraft Hockeyville Festivities Kick Off
As part of the upcoming Kraft Hockeyville celebration in El Paso, set to take place on Sunday, the team has kicked off its participating with a community celebration at the San Jancito Plaza. Former player and current Chief Hockey Development Officer Shane Doan was spotted around town greeting and taking pictures with fans, while the Stanley Cup made its glorious arrival at the rink, where the North American Hockey League’s El Paso Rhinos play.
“Seeing the Cup is a breathtaking experience,” said Rhinos’ forward Alex Krause. “There’s nothing like it. You only get the opportunity to do that so many times in your life, and it was a really special moment for me to see it and be around it and be part of it, and it’s something I’ll never take for granted and cherish for a long time.”
Festivities technically kicked off on Wednesday with a food drive, and the city will be hosting various events leading up to the game on Sunday.
Team Makes Additions to Pro Scouting, Player Development Departments
The Coyotes also announced numerous additions to their pro scouting, high performance, and player development departments this week. All of the additions are listed below:
- High Performance
- Mitch Stewart – Head Strength & Conditioning Coach
- Ryan Wysocki – Assistant Strength & Conditioning Coach
- Mark Packwood – Rehabilitation Coordinator
- Brad Stone – Massage Therapist
- Dr. Callam Cowan – Nutrition and High Performance Consultant
- Carl Bombardier – Head Performance Nutrition Coach
- Player Development
- Kyle Bochek – Skills Coach
- Charlie McTavish – Goaltender Development Coach
- Vince Lodato – Director of Mental Wellbeing & Performance
- McDonald – Draft Consultant, Mental Performance
- Pro Scouting
- David Oliver — Pro Scout
- Scott Pellerin — Pro Scout
Coyotes Become First NHL Team To Relax Dress Code
Arizona became the first-ever NHL team to fully relax its gameday dress code, much to the delight of the currently rostered players. The team is hoping to be much more inclusive, and allow players to express themselves beyond the previous collective bargaining agreement, which required players to wear jackets, ties, and dress pants to all club games, including travel to and from.
Defenseman Jakob Chychrun told ESPN he’s excited for the change.
“[Chief Brand Officer Alex Meruelo Jr.] is very open to the idea of going to the game and growing our fan base and anything we can do to be a little unique and different, they’re always open to trying different things,” he said. “To be the first team to go no dress code was awesome. The guys loved it. I think it’s great to be able to show a bit of your personality and your closet other than just your suits. I had fun with it. I enjoyed it. I’m glad it’s something we’ll continue to do.”
The flexibility will allow players to build their own brands, an idea that’s had great success in both the NBA and NFL. The NHL Players’ Association has often said decisions like this could also contribute to growing the popularity of the game.
On Deck For This Week
The Coyotes wrap up preseason play this week, because believe it or not, their regular season opener is less than two weeks away! Games this week include:
- Saturday: vs. Anaheim, 3 pm
- Sunday: vs. Dallas (in El Paso), 6 pm
- Tuesday: at Los Angeles, 7:30 pm
- Thursday: At Vegas, 7:00 pm
In Case You Missed It
- Coyotes’ Newcomers, Goaltending Stand Tall in 2-1 Win Over Kings
- Coyotes Player Milestones for 2021-22
- Coyotes News & Rumors: Arena Proposal, Kachinas Are Back, & More
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A die-hard hockey fan in the desert, and proud Iowa State alum. Detroit Red Wings and Arizona Coyotes contributor for The Hockey Writers.