Dear Mr. Great One,
I hesitate writing this note for only one reason. It’s not because I question my logic, nor do I question motives. No, the single reason I hesitate to write this letter is because you are who you are. If it was anyone else, I would have written this a few months ago. Hell, I may have written this a few YEARS ago—but you are who you are. Your accomplishments and class have earned you a certain degree of latitude in any decision that you make. So please don’t think that I take this lightly.
I humbly submit a single request: Please resign as head coach of the Phoenix Coyotes. There are a multitude of reasons that it’s the right choice at the right time—but only you can make it right. You can say it’s because you’d like to spend time with your maturing children. You can say it’s because you’d like to work on your “personal brand.” Or you can go with the obvious truth—the conflicts of ownership and coaching are too great in this time of confusion for the organization. You can use that line if you want.
You obviously see how there is a discrepancy between what is best for the Coyotes and what’s best for your personal interests. I understand that you’re current salary is between $7 and $8 million per year. I also understand that you currently are the Managing Partner, Alternate Governor and Head Coach of the team that is in the middle of this ownership mess. I know that you’re one of the creditors that is owed money in this bankruptcy circus ($22.5 million a sizable amount of money). And I also know that you’re working with IceEdge to help put together a successful bid to buy the team.
You have a ton of responsibilities—many of which are pulling you in the opposite direction. How can you have the team’s best interests at heart when they owe you over $20 million? How can you balance your sizable role in the bankruptcy proceedings, while trying to prepare your young team for the challenge of an 82 game season? How can you justify your salary that is more than your highest paid player? I know you’ve scored 1,102 goals in your lifetime—but how many have you scored as a coach? How many have you scored as an alternate governor? What the hell is an alternate governor?
Most of all, I don’t want your current struggle to taint your legend that so many of us hold in our mind’s eye. You’re one of the greatest players this great sport has ever seen. The record book reads like your own personal journey through the NHL. I’ve never seen a human being see the ice the way you could. I’ve never seen an athlete anticipate the play like you could. Your performance in Game 7 of the 1993 Western Conference Finals still serves as my greatest hockey memory. To go into Toronto and practically single handedly lead my beloved team to the heights of the Stanley Cup Finals is something I’ll never forget. And just think—you did all that with a piano on your back.
I know that the thought of resigning has crossed your mind. When I heard that you were not going to be leading the Coyotes at the start of training camp, I was cautiously optimistic that we’d hear a news report stating your departure from the Phoenix organization. As training camp continues and the Coyotes preseason starts to wet the hockey lovers appetite, you’re still lingering in the shadows. “Will he come back? Will he be able to coach? How will this ownership fiasco affect him? Will he still be coach if there’s a new ownership group? Will he be willing to take a pay cut?” All of these questions could be answered by a single, symbolic gesture on your behalf. Relinquish the reins.
It’s the classy move that I’d expect from one of the classiest legends the game has ever seen. Remember, the longer this drags on—the more people will forget the pristine reputation that you’ve worked your entire life to construct. I only want the best for you, the Coyotes and the fans in Phoenix. Thankfully, you can do what’s best for all in one emblematic decision. I trust you’ll do the right thing.
Your Humble Hockey Blogger