The Arizona Coyotes have announced that Steve Potvin has been named the head coach of the Tucson Roadrunners for the upcoming season. Jay Varady, who had served as head coach for the past two seasons, joined the Coyotes NHL coaching staff earlier this month. Arizona GM Bill Armstrong released a statement on the move:
We are very pleased to select Steve as the new head coach of the Roadrunners. Steve is a very good coach who has done an excellent job working with our prospects in Tucson the past three years. We are confident that he is the right coach to continue the development of our players and help build a winning culture in Tucson.
Potvin will be joined by John Slaney, who will continue as an assistant behind the bench for Tucson. The son of Hockey Hall of Famer Denis Potvin, Steve has served as an assistant or skills coach with the Coyotes since the 2016-17 season and will now get his first chance to serve as a head coach in professional hockey. The AHL announced a full schedule earlier today, which includes a season-opener for Tucson on February 5 against the San Jose Barracuda.
- Speaking of that AHL schedule, despite the league announcing a full slate of games for the Stockton Heat, Darren Dreger of TSN tweets that there is a good chance that the minor league franchise actually moves up to Calgary for the upcoming season so that it can be closer to the NHL affiliate. It’s not clear at all what that would mean for the just-announced schedule, other than the likely outcome that Stockton would have to join in the Canadian Division which includes Toronto, Belleville, Laval, and Manitoba. A move like that would need approval from the Alberta provincial government.
- In a bombshell piece from the Sports Business Journal, it is reported by John Ourand that NBC plans to shut down NBCSN by the end of 2021. The sports network is the national home of the NHL in the U.S. currently, though that agreement is set to expire at the end of this season. It’s not clear at all how the shutdown would affect the NHL negotiation, though apparently, NBC has made it clear that “it would carve out regular windows on its broadcast channel and USA Network” as well as Peacock, their streaming service. Sean Shapiro of The Athletic examines what the news could mean for the NHL, including a potential win-win situation for the league as it prepares to negotiate a new deal.