PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — After days of speculation, it’s official.
Pittsburgh Penguins assistant coach Rick Tocchet is taking the head coaching job with the Arizona Coyotes.
It’s a deal that has been rumored for several days now. Ron Cook, of our news partners at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, reported Tuesday morning that Tocchet would be leaving Pittsburgh to become head coach of the Arizona Coyotes.
I can confirm Rick Tocchet is leaving the Penguins to become head coach of the Arizona Coyotes.
— Ron Cook (@RonCookPG) July 11, 2017
The Coyotes made the announcement official with a press release Tuesday afternoon. He signed a multi-year contract with the team.
Coyotes General Manager John Chayka said in the release: “Rick is an excellent coach and a proven winner. While with the Penguins, he won a Stanley Cup as a player and two cups as a coach. 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 re-join our organization.”
Good to have you home, Coach. pic.twitter.com/66fZreZQP3
— Arizona Coyotes (@ArizonaCoyotes) July 11, 2017
Replacing Tocchet on the Penguins coaching staff is another former player, Mark Recchi, who is being promoted from player development director.
In a press release, Penguins General Manager Jim Rutherford said: “Mark Recchi will be a tremendous addition to our coaching staff. His recent history with the organization, especially with our players and coaches, and his incredible knowledge of the game, will help to ensure a seamless transition. It’s only fitting that he starts his NHL coaching career the same year he is inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.”
The Pens says the 49-year-old Recchi will assume the coaching duties handled by Tocchet.
— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) July 11, 2017
This marks Tocchet’s second time as a head coach. He coached the Tampa Bay Lightning for two seasons.
Tocchet, 53, also played for the Penguins, winning three Stanley Cups with the team, one as a player in 1992 and two as a coach in 2016 and 2017.
Recchi, who also played for the Penguins, was just announced as part of the Hockey Hall of Fame class of 2017. He won the first of his five Stanley Cup championships with the Penguins in 1991.
Stay with KDKA for the latest on this developing story.