Sources: Coyotes’ relationship with GM Chayka fell apart over new opportunity

Elliotte Friedman explains why there could be a shakeup in the front office of the Arizona Coyotes.

It appears the relationship between John Chayka and the Arizona Coyotes fell apart over another job opportunity for the team’s current general manager.

According to multiple sources, at some point during the pandemic, the Coyotes were approached about Chayka’s availability and granted permission for him to explore the situation.

“It was not a lateral move,” one source said. “He was not going to be the GM of another NHL team.”

From what I understand, when it became apparent Chayka could leave, the Coyotes dug in and resisted. He has four years remaining on his contract, and, at least until this occurred, owner Alex Meruelo was a huge supporter of his GM. The two sides discussed the possibility of a “transition period” where the GM would stay through the remainder of Arizona’s season, but talks fell apart.

The Coyotes repeatedly have declined to comment. Craig Morgan, who runs the website, tweeted Saturday that he asked a team spokesman if Chayka was still GM. Once again, the organization declined to discuss the situation.

Chayka is laying low, uninvolved in team business, not returning messages sent by anyone from agents to annoying reporters. He hasn’t attended practices, and sources indicate his office has been cleaned out. President and CEO Xavier Gutierrez, assistant GM Steve Sullivan and Alex Meruelo Jr., the owner’s son — listed as Strategic Advisor, Business and Hockey Operations — are handling much of the team’s business.

We’ll see where this goes from here.


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