GLENDALE - The Coyotes have made plenty of noteworthy on-ice additions to the team this summer. Earlier this week, Arizona made a significant off-ice acquisition when it hired Lindsay Hofford as Assistant General Manager-Director of Scouting.
"I'm very, very excited and anxious to get going," said Hofford, a well-known hockey development guru who most recently worked as a scout for the Toronto Maple Leafs. "Having met (General Manager) John Chayka, and having listened to his vision, helping bring that to fruition is a great opportunity. I think it's a good fit for me."
Hofford is connected to several current members of the Coyotes via his tenure with the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League. Most notably, he hired Coyotes Director of Hockey Operations Jake Goldberg not too long ago.
Hofford's responsibilities with the Coyotes will be split unequally between amateur scouting, pro scouting, and Arizona's two pro teams - the Coyotes, of course, and the Tucson Roadrunners of the American Hockey League. He said his duties would be weighted more heavily on the amateur side.
"The job description is exciting because it allows me to kind of touch every aspect of a National Hockey League team," Hofford said. "That, coupled with the fact that I get to work with some people I've worked with before and with people I've just met from John Chayka to Rick Tocchet to all of the staff, is outstanding."
In addition to coaching junior hockey (London from 2000-03 and Lethbridge from 2003-06), and youth hockey before that, Hofford has worked in hockey development for years as the founder of Pro Hockey Development, Ltd., which has schooled young players all over the world in areas such as power skating, puck control, off-ice training and game play for nearly three decades. Hofford has remained CEO of the company, but he said his wife, Vickie, handles its day-to-day operations enabling him to undertake other endeavors.
Hofford originally discussed his new gig with Chayka for about an hour over the telephone and then came to the Valley for a formal interview that spanned three days. He said he was impressed by the area, and the team's mind-set and facilities. He also likes the roster.
"I know a lot of the players," Hofford said. "I've either coached them or seen them grow as hockey players through the years. I think there is a very strong nucleus here. John (Chayka) has a vision that he wants to bring to fruition and, again, my goal is to help him do that. For me, I see it as it's onward and upward for the Coyotes. There's good young players here and a good mix of younger and older staff members, and just a ton of potential, and I think we all saw that at the end of last season."
Hofford, 55, said he expects to be based in Arizona for one week each month in his new role and traveling around the globe for the other three. He'll work in conjunction with Assistant General Manager Steve Sullivan and Chayka, Arizona's 29-year-old G.M.
"It's nothing short of astounding what John's been able to do as an individual, not only business-wise but in the National Hockey League," Hofford said. "It's basically unheard of. He's a trendsetter and a person of high intellect and intelligence. I've never been a guy concerned about someone's age … To me, you measure people by their intelligence, character and drive, and I think he's got all three of those things covered, quite evidently."
Chayka is confident Hofford will be a valuable asset.
"Since I took over, my main focus has been to build an organizational infrastructure that could create a competitive advantage with talented people," Chayka said. "Over the years, I have engaged with numerous individuals on the concept of player evaluation. My discussions with Lindsay have led me to believe he is a great talent evaluator. He will assist in implementing the structure and processes in our organization to make well informed, repeatable decisions. His holistic approach to gathering information to make decisions will be an asset to our organization moving forward."