The Tucson Roadrunners will have a new head coach this season after Jay Varady took a position with the Detroit Red Wings, but it won’t be an unfamiliar face. Steve Potvin, who has been with the club since 2017, has been promoted to head coach for the 2022-23 season.
This will actually be his second stint as head coach of the club, after serving in the same role for 2020-21 when Varady was with the Arizona Coyotes. Last season, when Varady moved back down the organizational depth chart, Potvin was given the role of associate head coach, and was still intimately involved in decision making.
Bill Armstrong, Coyotes general manager, released the following statement:
Steve is a very good coach who has great familiarity with our players in Tucson. He has done a tremendous job developing our prospects the past six seasons and we are thrilled to name him as our head coach with the Roadrunners.
Developing young players is now an extremely important part of the puzzle for Armstrong and the Coyotes front office, as they move through another rebuild by stripping the NHL roster of talent. A lot of those premium prospects haven’t reached the AHL level yet, however, meaning it not necessarily this season that is so crucial.
Still, building a “culture of winning” in the minor leagues is considered extremely important for player development these days, meaning Potvin will be tasked with getting the Roadrunners back to their previous level. The team did not qualify for the postseason this year and finished 13-20-3 in the shortened 2020-21 campaign, after leading the Pacific Division in 2019-20 when the year was shut down. Potvin has been a part of both sides of those results, and he’ll try to move the needle back toward success in the coming season.