Strange news broke out of Arizona back on February 2nd, when it was first reported that Coyotes assistant general manager Darcy Regier was leaving the organization for “personal reasons.”
Seeing such an important member of an NHL team’s front office up and leave the franchise in the middle of a season is indeed a rare occurrence. It’s especially odd considering that Regier only took the job in July of 2014, as well as the fact that the upstart Coyotes, who were widely expected to finish in the basement of the NHL standings this season, have been firmly in the playoff hunt all year long.
Now, “personal reasons” could consist of a myriad of things, such as health concerns or family emergencies, as examples. And it’s more than within Regier’s rights as an individual to leave it at that.
Yet, both the Coyotes and Regier himself have remained almost suspiciously tight-lipped since the news of the decision first broke. If Regier left the team because of, let’s say hypothetically, a sick family member, you would almost expect some sort of statement to eventually get released to alleviate the curiosity of the team’s fans and Regier’s acquaintances throughout the league.
Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, as connected of a source as any, touched on the issue in a recent edition of his weekly “30 Thoughts” column, but was unable to pry any more information out of both parties:
“13. Strange timing last week as Arizona assistant GM Darcy Regier suddenly left the team. It certainly was weird, and, on the weekend, there were rumours his tenure ended because of an argument with ownership. The Coyotes flatly denied that. Regier did so, too, via text.”
However, without getting too far into tin-foil-hate territory here, one might be inclined to wonder if the decision by Regier is at all tied to the other big news that rocked the Coyotes organization within the past month: the John Scott trade.
The details of the controversial trade, conspiracy theories and all, are well known at this point: Scott, already selected to the All-Star Game as a representative for the Coyotes, gets traded to the Montreal Canadiens and promptly assigned to the AHL, putting into question his inclusion to the event. Rumours begin to swirl that the Coyotes didn’t want Scott to participate. Scott gets to go to the game anyways, possibly due to immense pressure from the fans and media, and plays the hero in what might go down as one of the greatest moments in hockey history.
The timing, as Friedman noted, certainly raises eyebrows. Scott was traded on January 15th, just two weeks before the game was scheduled to take place on January 31st. Regier left the Coyotes two days later.
While Coyotes general manager Don Maloney has stated that the decision was strictly a hockey move, it generated a lot of scorn from fans because of the fact that Scott’s wife, Danielle, was due to soon give birth to a pair of twins. Hockey is, of course, a business first and foremost, and nobody has ever said that the business of hockey is fair. Guys get traded all the time, moving their young families along with them. Some guys even get traded on their wedding days.
But to trade a player with two young daughters and a wife that’s pregnant with two more, just weeks before she is scheduled to give birth? And when that player’s inclusion in the trade itself was, quite arguably, non-essential? That’s pretty heartless, even for a cold business mindset.
Making matters more interesting, Regier and Scott have a history. When Regier was the general manager of the Buffao Sabres he signed Scott twice, first in the summer of 2012 and then again in the summer of 2013. While it’s difficult to say what kind of relationship the two have off the ice, they probably got to know each other well over those two years.
So, did Regier leave the Coyotes organization, a sour taste in his mouth, because of the way that other members within it treated Scott? Like many other behind-the-scenes aspects of this strange, strange story we may never know, but hopefully, one day, the full truth will emerge.
Derek Neumeier primarily covers the Dallas Stars, but also other various topics related to the sport of hockey. A Journalism graduate of Mount Royal University, Derek also writes for Defending Big D, and has done previous work with the Edmonton Oilers as a communications intern and Hockey Canada as a freelance writer. You can follow him on Twitter at @Derek_N_NHL