The Arizona Coyotes on Sunday expressed their disappointment with John Chayka’s decision to quit as General Manager and President of Hockey Operations.
“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 post-season play for the first time since 2012,” the team posted in a statement on their official website.
“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.”
The team also announced Steve Sullivan will take over Chayka’s position as the interim general manager.
Chayka in a statement to Craig Morgan said his time in Arizona has been the most enjoyable time of his life and wishes he could be with the team in Edmonton, but “the situation created by ownership made than an impossibility.”
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) July 26, 2020
He added that is all he intends to say on the matter for now, with a more detailed explanation possibily in the near future.
The relationship between Chayka and the team soured because of another job opportunity, according to reports.
Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman said the team gave Chayka permission to explore another job opportunity during the coronavirus pandemic but pushed back when it appeared Chayka might leave the team.
Friedman heard from a source that Chayka’s job opportunity was not as general manager for another team and Morgan said the opportunity was not hockey related.
From an NHL Source – Chayaka lied to Coyotes about his opportunity with another team that it was non hockey related. Yotes would have never given him permission to leave it it was for a hockey job. He quit on players, coaches and staff as team prepared to depart for Edmonton.
— John Gambadoro (@Gambo987) July 26, 2020
Rumblings of a possible issue between Chayka and the team began to surface after he was not in a meeting with owner Alex Meruelo, Meruelo’s son Alex Jr., and CEO Xavier Gutierrez with free-agent-to-be Taylor Hall.