The Arizona Coyotes recently brought in a new GM when they hired Bill Armstrong, but the changes aren’t going to stop there. The organization is expected to make sweeping changes to the hockey operations staff and today started things off with the firing of director of scouting Lindsay Hofford. According to Craig Morgan of AZ Coyotes Insider, Armstrong explained that the termination was “due to [the Coyotes] commitment to change culture within the organization.”
Hofford, who also served as assistant general manager under former GM John Chayka, was part of the front office that recently received immense penalties from the league for scouting violations. The Coyotes were stripped of a first and a second-round pick for conducting physical testing of prospects outside of the combine, though no individual members of the staff received any discipline from the league.
Under Armstrong, Darren Dreger of TSN tweets that the organization will be “all about culture change” as they look to right the ship and move towards credibility again in the league. While the on-ice product has plenty of talent, this summer seemed to bring endless controversy and scandal. Not only was the team penalized by the league for their draft violations, but Chayka also left in an ugly public divorce and several reports have emerged that the team was late on bonus payments to players and payments to the company that owns Gila River Arena.
Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic has also reported several times that the Coyotes intend to slash player payroll dramatically thanks to an uncertain financial situation caused by the COVID-19 shutdowns. Armstrong prepared a 90-page presentation for his interview with management that outlined a five-year plan, but there is obviously plenty of work to do to get the team headed back in the right direction. Hofford’s firing will not be the last change this offseason.