Coyotes News & Rumors: Rookie Faceoff Tourney, New Assistant GM, & More

The Arizona Coyotes have had a busy few weeks, capping their prospect development camp with an entertaining scrimmage that gave fans a small glimpse into the future. Recent top draft pick Dylan Guenther impressed, British phenom Liam Kirk has caught both the fans’ and coaching staff’s attention, and the team is gearing up for training camp, set to kick off Sept. 22.

There’s plenty of news to highlight from the last week, and this inaugural edition of Coyotes News and Rumors has plenty to highlight, both on and off the ice. Let’s dive in!

John Ferguson Named Coyotes Assistant GM, Roadrunners GM

Arizona General Manager Bill Armstrong announced the hiring of John Ferguson as the team’s assistant GM, and he will also serve as the GM for its American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate, the Tucson Roadrunners. Ferguson was previously with the Boston Bruins, where he was the Executive Director of Player Personnel, as well as the GM for the AHL’s Providence Bruins, for the past seven years.

Ferguson also spent time with the San Jose Sharks as the Director of Pro Scouting, the Toronto Maple Leafs as Vice President and General Manager, and the St. Louis Blues as Assistant General Manager and Director of Hockey Operations.

Needless to say, he’s got the resume to seamlessly step into the role.

“I’m very excited to join the Coyotes organization,” Ferguson said in a release. “I’m grateful to Bill, Xavier Gutierrez and Mr. Meruelo for providing me with this opportunity. I’m excited about the Coyotes’ vision and plan for the future, and look forward to helping Bill build a long-term winning team in The Valley.”

Rookie Faceoff Tournament Kicks Off Friday

Arizona is hosting the Rookie Faceoff Tournament, set to begin today, and will feature rookies from the Anaheim Ducks, Los Angeles Kings, San Jose Sharks, Vegas Golden Knights, and Colorado Avalanche. Coyotes rookies expected to participate include Guenther, Kirk, Ty Emberson and Janis Moser.

The tourney will be held at both Gila River Arena in Glendale and the Ice Den in Scottsdale, with the following schedule (All times in MT):

Friday, Sept. 17

  • 3:00 pm – Los Angeles at Colorado (Ice Den Scottsdale)
  • 5:00 pm – San Jose at Anaheim (Ice Den Scottsdale)
  • 7:30 pm – Vegas at Arizona (Gila River Arena)

Sunday, Sept. 19

  • 2:00 pm – Vegas at San Jose (Ice Den Scottsdale)
  • 4:00 pm – Colorado at Anaheim (Ice Den Scottsdale)
  • 6:30 pm – Los Angeles at Arizona (Gila River Arena)

Monday, Sept. 20

  • 9:00 am – San Jose at Colorado (Ice Den Scottsdale)
  • 11:00 am – Los Angeles at Vegas (Ice Den Scottsdale)
  • 12:00 pm – Anaheim at Arizona (Gila River Arena)

Coyotes Set to Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month

On Tuesday the Coyotes announced plans to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, which started Sept. 15 and runs through Oct. 15. The team is partnering with Dignity Health, Univision Arizona, and the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in an effort to recognize Hispanic businesses throughout the season.

In the initiative, Arizona plans to recognize a Latino Business of the Month at home games, create video and audio content to help promote it, and Univision Arizona will promote and market the winning businesses on their various media platforms.

In addition, Chief Hockey Development Officer Shane Doan, along with President and CEO Xavier A. Gutierrez, will visit the YMCA in El Mirage to introduce kids to the sport of hockey on Oct. 6. Finally, there will be a “Los Howlitos” hockey clinic at AZ Ice Peoria on Oct 13, believed to be the first Spanish “learn to skate” program of its kind in the NHL.

“Hockey is for everyone, and we are excited to bring our great game to Latino kids during Hispanic Heritage Month,” Doan said in a release. “Through our great sport, we hope to drive positive social change and foster more inclusive communities.” 

Kraft Hockeyville USA To Feature Coyotes, Stars in El Paso

El Paso, Texas was the winner of Kraft Hockeyville USA 2020, but unfortunately the event was postponed because of COVID-19. The Coyotes and Dallas Stars announced the event has been rescheduled, and the two will face off against each other on Oct. 3 at 7 pm MT at El Past County Events Center.

The city won the contest as 2020’s most spirited hockey community in America in an online vote, and earned $150,000 in rink upgrades, as well as $10,000 in new equipment.

Interestingly enough, the events center where the game will be held was originally built to host rodeos in 1942, and has been a popular venue ever since. The Coyotes previously had one preseason game left to schedule, and this fills that void.

“We are thrilled to participate in the Kraft Hockeyville game in El Paso,” Gutierrez said in a release. “We are grateful to the NHL, NHLPA, Kraft Heinz and the Dallas Stars for this incredible opportunity and we look forward to interacting with the El Paso community to grow the great game of hockey in Texas.”

What To Watch For

Training camp kicks off next Wednesday (Sept. 22), so keep your eyes peeled as the Coyotes return to the ice for the first time since last season. Stay tuned to The Hockey Writers throughout camp, and the preseason, as we bring you updates on practices, as well as the preseason games leading up to the start of the 2021-22 season.

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