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Year in Review 2015

A Coyote and his dog

Oct. 30: Max Domi is in the midst of his first season in the National Hockey League, a highly regarded draft pick of the Coyotes who possesses the skill, speed and spirit the team is seeking to boost it back to the competitive ranks after finishing 29th among 30 teams last season. Domi isn’t making the transition from junior hockey standout in Canada to a potential star in the making alone; Orion isn’t the average four legged pet. The 2 year old, 70 pound yellow lab is a diabetic alert dog offering Domi comfort, confidence and companionship. “He’s my best buddy,” Domi, 20, said.

April 18: The Valley sports scene has been defined by two honest to goodness realities: Bad luck. Bad management. It felt like bad luck is what happened to the Coyotes in the NHL draft lottery in April, even if the odds suggested falling from the second pick to the third was most likely. Momentum was beginning to swing their way and the opportunity to secure Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel felt real. Sigh. Here’s the thing: Bad luck and bad management don’t have to go hand in hand. The Coyotes need to show fans some muscle off the ice. Spend more money. Make better personnel decisions. Develop top flight prospects. Did I say “spend more money”? Find a way into the playoffs.

Coyotes radio analyst charged with assault

March 26: Coyotes radio analyst and former NHL defenseman Nick Boynton was leveled with a host of charges in March following an overnight incident at a Buffalo casino. Boynton was charged with assault, disorderly conduct, harassment, resisting arrest, criminal mischief and obstruction of government administration in connection with the situation, Buffalo Police spokesman Michael DeGeorge said.

Coyotes fall to third overall pick in NHL draft

April 18: Not much went right for the Coyotes during the season, and nothing has changed now that they’ve stopped playing. The Coyotes’ rebuild was dealt a blow in Aprilwhen the team fell to third in the draft order after the Oilers leapfrogged them and the Sabres to win the NHL draft lottery and nab the first overall pick. “This one stings,” President, CEO and co owner Anthony LeBlanc said.

Barroway to step down from majority role as ownership group reshuffles

Arizona Coyotes majority owner Andrew Barroway prior to their NHL game Saturday, Jan. 3, 2015. (Photo: David Kadlubowski/azcentral sports)

June 15: The Coyotes are in the process of reshuffling their ownership group, a move that would demote Andrew Barroway from his majority role less than six months after he purchased a controlling interest in the club. “The owners of IceArizona have been in discussions to restructure their relative holdings,” President, CEO and co owner Anthony LeBlanc said in a statement over the summer. “Upon completion of an agreement, Andrew Barroway will remain the largest shareholder and Governor of the Coyotes. The transaction is subject to NHL and shareholder approval.” The ownership group has been working on this potential shift for some time, a league source said, and the change was met by a group consensus. Current members of IceArizona are poised to buy back some of Barroway’s shares, the source said, and the transition could be finalized soon. Barroway purchased a 51 percent majority of the franchise Dec. 31 for $152.5 million after a nearly two month negotiation.

Coyotes majority owner meets with City of Glendale officials

June 9: Coyotes majority owner Andrew Barroway met with City of Glendale officials in June in the Valley, discussing how to strengthen the partnership between the team and the city. “It was tough to schedule,” Barroway said Tuesday in an exclusive, almost 20 minute interview with azcentral sports from his office at Gila River Arena. “We had a meeting scheduled previously and then we had to cancel. Various travel schedules and what not, but we got it set up. . I’m glad we did it, and we want to find ways to work together and do what’s best for the team and do what’s best for Glendale.” Barroway met with Mayor Jerry Weiers and Vice Mayor Ian Hugh, and the get together came on the heels of speculation the Coyotes could be in breach of the 15 year, $225 million arena management agreement between the two sides a claim Barroway dismissed.

Flurry of trades leaves Coyotes with plenty of options

March 2: The plan to deconstruct the Coyotes roster and rebuild it with current and yet to be acquired prospects and draft picks was announced a few months ago,giving ample time for pressure to mount on the team’s management groupto maximize its stockpile at its first opportunity to incite tangible change.

Phoenix Coyotes defenseman Zbynek Michalek waves to fans following their win against the Dallas Stars, Sunday, April 13, 2014. (Photo: azcentral sports)

It’s too premature to gauge what impact, if any, the pieces added leading up to the NHL trade deadline will have on the Coyotes but solely based on the haul accumulated by General Manager Don Maloney, the organization certainly has a plethora of options to utilize. The Coyotes capped off their activity in early March by shipping veteran defenseman Zbynek Michalek and a 2015 conditional third round draft pick to the Blues in exchange for prospect Maxim Letunov.

Coyotes trade Dubnykfor third round pick

Jan. 14: Even before reaching the halfway point and being confronted with how bleak the outlook for this season had become, Coyotes brass was in the process of evaluating the roster and what could be done to repair it for future improvement. And yet the change they covet was limited to small scale tweaks: a carousel of auditions by minor league players, a waiver wire subtraction and a trade for a prospect last month. But the deal executed in January that saw the Coyotes ship backup goalie Devan Dubnyk to the Minnesota Wild for a 2015 third round pick eclipses the magnitude of all those other decisions, and it’s likely more moves like this are on the way.

Coyotes fans excited for new uniforms and NHL draft pick Dylan Strome

June 26: Despite a jersey leak a few hours before the new uniform unveiling, the excitement of Coyotes fans was still very visible.

According to Coyotes co owner, President and CEO Anthony Leblanc, the goal of the new jerseys was to create a fresh look while keeping the classic design in mind. (Photo: Rob Schumacher/azcentral sports)

Cue in speech, music and pre video, the fans were at the edge of their seats cameras set on record. And with a drop of the curtain, the arena was filled with cheers and applause. According to Coyotes co owner, President and CEO Anthony Leblanc, the goal of the new jerseys was to create a fresh look while keeping the classic design in mind.”We took a good thing and made it considerably better, and the reaction that I heard from the fans in the crowd seemed to validate the decision,” said Leblanc.

March 3: The Coyotes wore’throwback’ jerseys for the first time in an NHL game in Marchwhen they host the Vancouver Canucks. The team will wear the black version of their original Kachina jersey that they had from 1996 2003. “It’s unique,” goalie Mike Smith said. “It’s something when I was growing up I remember watching games with that logo and (Nikolai) Khabibulin here. I like it.”.