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Andrew Barroway speaks out about the ‘new’ Arizona Coyotes

Last week Andrew Barroway sat down with Kevin Weekes to talk about the Coyotes’ offseason moves and upcoming season, including Shane Doan’s departure.

2017 NHL Draft - Rounds 2-7 Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Now that the sale is complete and he is the sole owner of the team, Andrew Barroway is finally speaking to the press about the direction of the Arizona Coyotes. Many fans are still wanting to know what happened with Shane Doan, if the team will stay in the valley, and what direction he believes the team should be going in.

In an interview with Kevin Weekes of NHL Tonight, Weekes asked Barroway many of the questions Coyotes fans have been waiting for.

This was Barroway’s answer when he was asked about a new arena/home for the Coyotes: “We are trying as hard as we can to get a long term solution in the Valley. The majority of our customer base is in the East Valley. We are pursuing every opportunity we can over there. We don’t have a deal done, [but] we have meetings. These things take a long time. Right now, it’s a work in progress. We’re working very hard on it.”

“We’re meeting and talking with several different groups and a few different locations. I wake up in the morning thinking about getting a new stadium and go to sleep at night thinking about a new stadium, so this is top of mind. We fixed some of the hockey stuff that needs to be fixed, we have a great community that people love to be in that will really attract free agents, and we have the very best coach now, so it’s the last step.”

{FFH: Coyotes fans have been waiting for an arena announcement since the Glendale saga started all over again in June of 2015. With AEG currently managing the arena, the team could and would stay until a new home was built. Having added Steve Patterson to the team’s staff, it’s looking like a real possibility.}

Barroway on the hiring of new Head Coach Rick Tocchet: “With a coach everyone wants to play for, we think we can be the premier destination for NHL hockey. “

{FFH: Many fans are cautiously optimistic about the Tocchet hiring. With the style that Tocchet is wanting the Coyotes to play, we could see more exciting things like in Toronto, or be stuck in a defensive dump and chase nightmare.}

When he was asked about the expectations of this season, Barroway said: “The expectations are high. There is a lot of pressure. We’re gonna have 9 players under 23 that are gonna get real ice time. So, we’re either the youngest or about the youngest in the league.”

“It’s hard to win the Cup when you don’t get into the playoffs. So, we just gotta get in first. And then from there, we think our younger players are gonna grow, we think we have some of the best young talents, and it’s time to stop talking about how great our young talent is and see them produce. I think they’re ready, and they’re certainly really excited to play.”

{FFH: Last season the Coyotes had up to six rookies on the ice per game. Saying there will be nine players under 23 is just another example of how young the Coyotes actually are. There isn’t anything wrong with that, it just shows how slow and steady may actually win the race. See Toronto as an example with their three headed monster of Auston Matthews, William Nylander and Mitchell Marner (and more...)}

His thoughts on acquiring Derek Stepan: “We always look for that number-one center and we think we found it in Stepan and we’re excited about that.”

{FFH: The Dylan Strome’s and Christian Dvorak’s need a strong center to play behind and Stepan could be that center. Rick Tocchet has seen a lot more of Stepan in the last three years than we have in the west. Stepan is strong defensively at the center position, and with a young team, you need someone who can anchor your top line.}

Most importantly, Barroway spoke about Shane Doan not returning this season and taking the onus of how badly the situation turned. “Shane’s a bedrock of the Arizona community. He’s beloved by all, incredibly personable, [and] will give his time to anyone who wants it. [He’s] great with adults, great with kids, beyond a lovable guy. We felt at the time the right hockey decision [because] we’re trying to win, we made the difficult decision that we didn’t think putting a soon-to-be 41-year old on the ice was the right thing for the Coyotes to win.”

“I have to accept responsibility. I didn’t handle it well. It’s not normal for an owner to fly across and tell a player that they’re not getting a contract, but Shane Doan is different. He was there for 20 years and I owed him the respect to fly across country and tell him myself, and I didn’t do that, and for that I am deeply sorry. I messed that up.” Barroway said.

{FFH: Barroway taking full responsibility for how Shane Doan was treated in the meeting is huge to Coyotes fans. This is now, truly, the start of the new Coyotes. Coyotes 2.0, as imagined a year ago.}

These types of interviews, be it one-on-one with Five For Howling staff or NHL Network show that the Coyotes owner is committed to his franchise. The Arizona market is going to be a gem in the desert sooner rather than later.

People want to see the team fail for some reason, want to prove that Arizona has no hockey culture or love, but they forget about the old Phoenix Roadrunners. They forget Arizona State University now has a NCAA D-1 Men’s team. They forget the club teams at the University of Arizona, Northern Arizona University and Grand Canyon University. They forget that new generations of players are coming out of the Valley because of retired players settling here. They forget the amazing women coming out of Arizona who play hockey, like Makenna Newkirk, Kaliya Johnson, Lyndsey Fry, Katie McGovern, and many many more to come.

And, everyone seems to forget that Auston Matthews is from Arizona. The third player of Latino descent and the first to be selected first overall to the largest hockey market in the NHL.

Having an owner who wants to see more come out of Arizona is great, someone who lives here and is starting to see what hockey does to the community here.

Four years ago the Coyotes were given a new breath of life with having an owner and not being held by the league. Now, even with the growing pains and new ownership, they are finally going to make their mark and show everyone that Arizona hockey, professional, amateur, and college, is no laughing matter anymore.

Special thanks to NHL Network for the quotes and clip of Andrew Barroway’s interview.