By John Marshall
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — The Arizona Coyotes are hiring veteran NHL assistant and junior coach Andre Tourigny as head coach, a person familiar with the decision told The Associated Press.
The person spoke on condition of anonymity Wednesday because the official announcement won’t come until a Thursday morning news conference.
Tourigny replaces Rick Tocchet, who was fired May 9 after the Coyotes failed to reach the playoffs for the seventh time in eight seasons.
The 47-year-old Tourigny has spent the past four seasons as coach and vice president of hockey operations for the Ottawa 67s in the junior Ontario Hockey League. He previously served as an assistant coach with the Colorado Avalanche and Ottawa Senators.
Earlier this month, Tourigny was an assistant coach to Gerrard Gallant on the Team Canada team that earned gold at the world championships. He also led Team Canada to gold at the 2020 world junior championships and was slated to coach at the world juniors again later this year, but will now need to be replaced.
Tourigny earned his second straight OHL coach of the year honors in 2020 after leading the 67s to the league’s best record in consecutive seasons. He began his coaching career in 1998 at the junior major level, and became a head coach in 2003-04 with Rouyn-Noranda Huskies in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.
Tourigny takes over a team that could be headed toward more major changes. The Coyotes made the postseason for the first time since 2012 in last season’s pandemic “bubble”, but fell off last season.
Arizona held the fourth playoff spot heading into the final month of the 2020-21 season before losing 12 of 15 games to fall out of contention. The Coyotes have numerous unrestricted free agents, including goalie and Antti Raanta and defensemen Niklas Hjalmarsson, and third-leading scorer Conor Garland is a restricted free agent.