Arizona Coyotes owner Andrew Barroway met the media on Thursday as the club held an introductory press conference for new head coach Rick Tocchet and new CEO and president Steve Patterson.
Barroway used the opportunity to mend some potentially burnt bridges, responding to a question about former captain Shane Doan with a candid apology.
“What happened with Shane, I have to take some responsibility for,” Barroway said, according to AZCentral.com. “Shane’s a bedrock of this community, and a pillar in the Valley for, you know, since we came here. I think we made the right hockey decision with Shane – I’m confident we did. But I certainly – in retrospect, I should’ve flown out and met with him myself and told him that, and for that I’m sorry.
“I apologize to Shane and the fans. I definitely could’ve done that better. With that said, it’s time to move forward.”
Doan was informed in June that he would not be brought back into the Coyotes’ fold for the 2017-18 season. While the decision to part ways with the 40-year-old wasn’t necessarily a shocking one, the manner in which Doan was turned away drew the ire of many Coyotes fans.
“I had been corporately fired,” Doan said of the brief meeting with Coyotes general manager John Chayka in which he was told of the team’s decision, according to AZCentral’s Sarah McLellan. “That’s the way it felt.”
The former captain – who stands as the franchise leader in games played, goals, assists and points – wasn’t the only one upset with how the situation was handled, as plenty of fans expressed their outrage on Twitter following news of Doan’s exit.
While the situation remains a sore spot for those involved, the organization is turning its attention to the new faces joining them next season.
Former Pittsburgh Penguins assistant coach Tocchet, who suited up in the NHL for 18 seasons and previously served as part of Wayne Gretzky’s coaching staff in Arizona, spoke about his vision for the 2017-18 Coyotes.
“This fan base wants to see exciting hockey, they want to see some offence, some skill,” said Tocchet. “That’s the way you have to play to be successful in the league today.”
The addition of Patterson has more to do with the club’s arena than the players plying their trade within it. Patterson brings a wealth of experience to the Coyotes, most notably due to his key role in helping the Houston Texans, Portland Trail Blazers and Houston Rockets all design and construct new facilities.
That experience should be crucial to helping the Coyotes navigate its present building issues. Originally locked into a 15-year deal with the city of Glendale for Gila River Arena, the club saw Glendale’s City Council vote to opt out of the pact in 2015, just two years into the contract. The Coyotes then turned to Arizona State University to remedy the situation, only to have them pull out of an agreed-upon deal as well, leaving the Coyotes with continuing instability concerning their future.
“As I’ve said before: These deals are like vampire movies,” Patterson said of the Coyotes’ arena situation. “It’s got to go in the grave a half-dozen times and hopefully come out a seventh time.”
With files from The Associated Press