Feb 16: The wording on the Coyotes’ release was always curious, using the term “terminated” instead of “relieved of duties” like most NHL firings. Today, included in Katie Strang’s explosive article detailing the Coyotes front office turmoil, is a quote from Sullivan’s attorney Stacy Gabriel:
It’s our position that the Coyotes breached the contract – he has an employment agreement and they breached that agreement – and we intend to pursue remedies through the arbitration process,
Gabriel told Strang she will be filing a demand for arbitration with the commissioner’s office. Sullivan did not comment.
Feb 11: In surprising news, if only because of the timing, the Arizona Coyotes have terminated the contract of assistant general manager and executive vice president of hockey operations Steve Sullivan. In the release, the team indicates it will not be filling the vacant position this season.
Sullivan was hired well before the new regime took over, joining the organization first as a development coach in 2014 after his playing career came to an end. After serving as director of player development for a season, he was promoted to AGM in 2017 and named GM of the Tucson Roadrunners. Sullivan even served as interim GM of the Coyotes last summer when John Chayka left the position.
Often when a front office is handed over to a new GM, like in Arizona where Bill Armstrong took over in September, there will be turnover among the ranks. Assistants like Sullivan are often let go as the new manager brings in his own people, but it often happens in the offseason, not a month into a shortened schedule. That timing, along with the fact that the team does not have a replacement on hand, is certainly curious.
The veteran NHL forward has plenty of experience to offer a new organization, after playing more than 1,000 games and serving in various roles for Arizona.