When the Arizona Coyotes' AHL affiliate Springfield Falcons takes the ice for the beginning of the 2015-16 season, it will be under the watch of a brand new coaching staff.
According to Maine Hockey Journal's Chris Roy, the Coyotes have relieved just about every single coach from their duties, including coach Ray Edwards and assistants John Slaney and Trent Whitfield. The firing comes as somewhat of a surprise after the Portland Pirates, the Coyotes' 2014-15 AHL affiliate, made the post-season this season and are preparing a big move to Springfield for next season.
Edwards, who also had GM duties with the Pirates following a contract extension last season, also leaves a hole to fill for the Coyotes when it comes to someone to fully oversee the day-to-day operations of their AHL club.
“Ray is a good man,” Pirates chief operating officer Brad Church told Roy. “I’d been hands on for the last season and a half and I thought as GM he did a good job on surrounding the prospects with quality character veterans and put together a competitive team with what he was given by the Coyotes.”
Edwards had been the coach for Arizona's AHL clubs for the past six seasons, before which he was an assistant for three years under Greg Ireland. When Ireland, now coach of the OHL's Owen Sound Attack, was let go, Edwards took over as the bench boss.
Unfortunately for Edwards and his staff, they were unable to get deeper in the post-season than the first round in either of their playoff years and it very well could have been a big part of the Coyotes' choice to dismiss he and his staff of their duties.
There are a number of current free agent coaches available, but with Arizona's choice to completely clean house when it comes to their AHL staff, there's going to be a big search made for their next bench boss. Be it a junior coach moving up or a minor professional coach getting his shot one league higher, the Coyotes will likely exhaust their options when it comes to the bench boss for their farm club.
According to Roy, the Coyotes also said goodbye to video coach Alex Loh, athletic trainer Mike Booi, equipment manager John Krouse and assistant equipment manager Joe Morse.