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Coyotes Announce Contract Extensions for Playfair, Effinger and O'Hearn

by Staff Writer / Arizona Coyotes


Monday, July 14, 2014

GLENDALE, ARIZONA – Arizona Coyotes General Manager Don Maloney announced today that the Coyotes have signed Associate Coach Jim Playfair to a multi-year contract extension. The team also signed Director of Pro Scouting Frank Effinger to a multi-year contract extension and promoted Chris O’Hearn to Vice President of Hockey Operations. As per club policy, terms of the deals were not disclosed.

Jim Playfair. Photo by Getty Images.

Playfair enters his fourth season as Coyotes’ Associate Coach in 2014-15. In his three seasons in Arizona, the 50-year-old Playfair has assisted with the development of Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Keith Yandle who have emerged as premier NHL defensemen. He also helped lead the Coyotes to a Pacific Division title and the Western Conference Final in his first season with the organization in 2011-12.

Playfair joined the Coyotes on June 7, 2011 from Calgary where he spent 11 years as a coach with the Flames organization. He was named the 14th head coach of the Calgary Flames on July 12, 2006. In his only season behind the bench (2006-07), Playfair led Calgary to an impressive 43-29-10 record (96 points) in the Northwest Division. Prior to that, he spent three years as an assistant coach with the Flames (2003-06).

Playfair also had two stints as a head coach in the American Hockey League while with the Flames’ organization. He was the head coach of the Abbotsford Heat (AHL) from 2009-2011. In his two seasons at the helm, Playfair led the Heat to a 77-61-9-13 record (176 points).

He was appointed head coach of the Saint John Flames (AHL) on August 10, 2000. During the 2000-01 season, Playfair led Saint John to its first Calder Cup championship and was named the Minor League Professional Coach of the Year by The Hockey News. Over the course of three seasons (2000-01 to 2002-03) in Saint John, Playfair posted a record of 83-77-22-10.

A native of Fort St. James, British Columbia, Playfair played nine seasons of professional hockey including 21 games in the NHL with the Edmonton Oilers and Chicago Blackhawks. He was originally drafted by the Oilers in the first round (20th overall) of the 1982 NHL Entry Draft.


Effinger enters his seventh season with the Coyotes and his fifth as Director of Pro Scouting. He is responsible for all professional scouting and oversees the schedule for the Coyotes’ pro scouts. With the Coyotes, Effinger has been influential in acquiring the likes of Sam Gagner, Mike Smith and Antoine Vermette.

Effinger joined the Coyotes after spending two seasons as a professional scout with the New York Rangers. Prior to that, he spent seven years with the Minnesota Wild as the club’s Eastern Pro Scout. With the Wild, Effinger was influential in acquiring Dwayne Roloson, Brian Rolston and Kim Johnsson while also playing a role in the team’s Expansion Draft in 2000.

Prior to his stint with the Wild, Effinger worked part-time for the Buffalo Sabres and ran the hockey program for the Rye Country Day School and Rye Ranger Youth Program in Rye, New York. From 1979 to 1990, Effinger served as head coach of the Iona College men’s hockey team and finished his career with the sixth best winning percentage in college hockey history. He was inducted into the Iona College Athletic Hall of Fame in 1996.


O’Hearn enters his eighth season with the Coyotes and his first as Vice President of Hockey Operations.

As a member of Arizona’s hockey operations management team, O’Hearn is responsible for player contract research and negotiations, scheduling, salary arbitration, salary cap management as well as the evaluation of pro and amateur players. He also is involved with fiscal and strategic planning, compliance with the Collective Bargaining Agreement and administration with the NHL’s Central Registry as well as the day-to-day operations of the hockey department.

The 32 year-old native of Winnipeg, Manitoba earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from Arizona State University in 2004. O’Hearn also graduated from the New England School of Law in 2007.

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