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Former Coyotes forward, assistant coach Rick Tocchet rejoins team as head coach

Posted at 10:06 AM, Jul 11, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-11 22:36:02-04

Former Coyotes forward and assistant coach Rick Tocchet has rejoined the team as its new head coach, the Coyotes announced Tuesday.

Tocchet has signed a multi-year contract with the Coyotes. He'll be introduced to the media Thursday at 1 p.m.

The 53-year-old native of Scarborough, Ontario played for six NHL teams from 1984-02, including 11 seasons with the Philadelphia Flyers. He scored 64 goals and added 66 assists in 213 regular-season games for the Coyotes from 1997-2000.

Tocchet returned to the Valley in 2005 as an assistant coach under then-Coyotes head coach Wayne Gretzky. He was the Coyotes' interim head coach for five games during the 2005-06 season while Gretzky was away following the death of his mother. The Coyotes posted a 2-3 record in those games.

"Rick is an excellent coach and proven winner," Coyotes general manager John Chayka said in a statement. "He's experienced, knowledgeable and is a great leader and communicator. He's also a former Coyotes player and assistant coach and the perfect fit for us. We're thrilled to have him rejoin our organization.

Tocchet was the head coach of the Tampa Bay Lightning from 2008-10. He posted an overall record of 53 wins, 69 regulation losses and 26 overtime/shootout losses before being fired in April 2010. He served as an assistant coach on the Pittsburgh Penguins' 2016 and 2017 Stanley Cup championship teams.

Tocchet ran into some legal problems during his time as Coyotes' assistant coach. In 2006, he was accused of financing a New Jersey-based sports gambling ring in which several NHL players, along with Gretzky's wife, Janet, allegedly placed bets on professional sports other than hockey.

Tocchet was placed on leave from his coaching role with the Coyotes during the investigation. He eventually pleaded guilty to conspiracy and promoting gambling, and he was sentenced to two years' probation. He rejoined Gretzky and the Coyotes' coaching staff after being reinstated by the NHL in February 2008.