SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) — André Tourigny's task when he first arrived in Arizona was to set the foundation for a franchise on shaky ground.
The Coyotes made progress in his first two seasons, pointing to a better future just over the horizon.
A three-year contract extension he signed on Wednesday gives Tourigny a chance to finish what he helped start.
“That's a lot of fun, but it's also a tremendous responsibility,” Tourigny said. “It's like raising a child, your own child. You don't want to miss.”
The 49-year-old Tourigny was hired in 2021 to help turn around a foundering franchise. Arizona had been to the playoffs once since reaching the 2012 Western Conference Finals — in the 2020 NHL bubble — and was annually one of the league's worst teams.
The Coyotes opted to rebuild from the ground up, trading away or releasing many of their veterans to acquire younger players and a load of draft picks.
Well-liked by the players, Tourigny led Arizona to 25 wins and 57 points his first season, then 28 wins and 70 points last year. The Coyotes were particularly good at their small, temporary home last season, going 21-15-5 at 5,000-seat Mullett Arena.
“We are very pleased to sign André to a three-year extension,” Coyotes general manager Bill Armstrong said in a statement. “He is an excellent coach, leader and communicator who has helped us establish a tremendous culture in our dressing room. Our players like him, respect him and compete hard for him. We are thrilled to have him signed as our head coach for the next three years.”
The Coyotes set their foundation with a talented core of young players, including All-Star Clayton Keller, Mattias Maccelli, Dylan Guenther and Barrett Hayton. Arizona has cashed in on its added picks the past two drafts, filling their system with talent.
Ready to take another step, the Coyotes were aggressive during the offseason, adding Max Dumba, Sean Durzi, Nick Bjugstad, Alex Kerfoot and Jason Zucker.
“We have good veterans around our young players,” Tourigny said. “That doesn’t guarantee anything, but will be a little more competitive.”
A long-time minor league coach, Tourigny has been a regular on the Team Canada coaching staff, winning three straight world championships. He was the head coach of the Team Canada team that took gold at the 2023 IIHG World Championships.
Tourigny has the experience, a roster on the rise and, now, a chance to take Arizona's rebuilding project to the next level.
AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/NHL
John Marshall, The Associated Press