After days of speculation suggesting that Andre Tourigny was the front-runner to take over as Arizona’s new head coach, the team made it official on Thursday, hiring Tournigny while signing him to a three-year contract. GM Bill Armstrong released the following statement:
“We are very pleased to name André as the new head coach of the Arizona Coyotes. 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. We are confident that he is the right person to lead our team on the ice and we are thrilled to have him in our organization.”
While this is Tourigny’s first NHL head coaching job, it’s not his first time working in the league. Tourigny’s been an active coach since 1998, serving as an assistant coach with the Colorado Avalanche from 2013-2015 and with the Ottawa Senators in 2015-16.
Since then, Tourigny has been the head coach and vice president of hockey operations for the OHL’s Ottawa 67s, in which he’s seen great success. He’s coached recent highly touted prospects such as Marco Rossi and Jack Quinn en route to being one of the best teams in the league. He also served as the head coach for Canada’s U20 team at the World Juniors this year, winning a silver medal to add to his trophy case.
The Coyotes hope that a shift behind the bench can help propel the team to success sooner rather than later. Inconsistency on and off the ice has plagued the franchise for over a decade now, and the Coyotes have made the playoffs only once since 2012. It may be a very different-looking team next year too, as forward Conor Garland finds himself in trade rumors. Tourigny will work to rehabilitate a roster that’s had a concerning lack of offense, and he’ll try to get more out of important players like Clayton Keller and Phil Kessel. A system more beneficial to Arizona’s offensively inclined players could unlock the next level for this team, something it hopes the Tourigny hire will do. He becomes the team’s seventh head coach since relocating from Winnipeg in 1996.