Coyotes accuse Chayka of quitting on team after GM terminates contract
John Chayka is no longer the general manager of the Arizona Coyotes, and they're not exactly thrilled about it.
The club confirmed his departure in a scathing statement on Sunday.
"John Chayka has quit as the general manager and president of hockey operations of the Arizona Coyotes," the team said. "The club is disappointed in his actions and his timing as the Coyotes prepare to enter the NHL's hub city of Edmonton, where the team will begin postseason play for the first time since 2012.
"Chayka has chosen to quit on a strong and competitive team, a dedicated staff, and the Arizona Coyotes fans, the greatest fans in the NHL."
Chayka responded by taking aim at the club's ownership.
”The past four years have been the most enjoyable of my life," Chayka wrote in a statement to AZCoyotesInsider.com's Craig Morgan. "In Arizona, I became a husband and a father, while working as hard as possible to make the Coyotes a Stanley Cup contender. I love our players, coaches, staff, and fans and I very much wish I could be with the team in Edmonton. Sadly, the situation created by ownership made that an impossibility."
Steve Sullivan, who had been one of the club's two assistant GMs, will take over as the interim general manager.
Chayka voided his contract with the club Friday, TSN's Pierre LeBrun reports. There were three years left on the former GM's deal.
It's unclear if Chayka is free to pursue other opportunities with NHL teams. He's not permitted to serve as president of hockey operations or GM of another club for the life of his now-terminated contract, a source told Morgan.
A third party had reportedly asked the Coyotes about Chayka's availability at some point during the NHL's hiatus, after which the team granted him permission to pursue the opportunity, which is apparently outside the NHL.
Chayka became the youngest GM in league history when Arizona promoted him from his previous role as an assistant general manager at the age of 26 in May 2016.
The analytically minded executive traded for goaltenders Darcy Kuemper and Antti Raanta, as well as star forwards Taylor Hall and Phil Kessel. He also signed defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson to an eight-year, $66-million extension in summer 2018, and drafted the likes of Clayton Keller, Jakob Chychrun, and Barrett Hayton.
Chayka failed to lead the Coyotes to a playoff berth in his relatively brief tenure, but Arizona did qualify for the play-in round of the upcoming expanded postseason.
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