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'State of the Union' Press Conference - Transcript

by Staff Writer / Arizona Coyotes

EDITOR'S NOTE: Coyotes CEO Anthony LeBlanc, General Manager Don Maloney and Head Coach Dave Tippett answered questions from reporters on Tuesday at Gila River Arena.

MODERATOR: Good afternoon, everyone, and thank you very much for joining us here today at Gila River Arena. We appreciate you guys taking the time to come down today. As you all know, the NHL Draft is fast approaching and taking place in Florida on June 26, followed by the NHL free agent period July 1st, so we thought it was a good time to make Anthony, Don and Dave Tippett available today to take your questions and talk about our plan moving forward. So,  without further ado we'll open the floor for questions.

Q.I'll get right into the nitty gritty. Obviously you guys mentioned at the conclusion of the season about trying to put together a budget, what kind of parameters could be set for spending and revising the roster this summer. Any clarity of where that might land or plans finalized with what that might look like this summer?

ANTHONY LeBLANC: Well, from an ownership perspective, what we felt was important this season was to not do what we did last year, which was start with a number and say, okay, Don, back into it. What we've been doing is working very closely with Don and his staff and Coach Tippett to find out what these guys need, and I'll turn it over to them and they can comment on the process we've been going through. But I think from a concept of what a firm budget number is, that's not the way we're approaching it this year.

DON MALONEY: You know, really Tip and I the last couple months have spent a lot of time looking at our organization, our roster, our prospects, our staff, and trying to figure out how we can make this work. We know obviously that last season did not go the way we certainly expected. So we've worked in conjunction with ownership to get a budget that we can work with, that we think we can come out and certainly get back into being a competitive team and compete for a playoff spot as we grow the franchise.

Our ultimate goal is to win a Cup. That's why we're here. We know there's a timeline for it. You know, we probably sunk as low as we could ever want to go. We don't want to go back there again. We want to we have some things we need to do. Certainly there's people we need to make some deals, to sign, to fill some holes, there's some free agent spots that we're going to have to fill.

But when I look at this team and roster going forward, starting with our goaltender that had a really good season, finished his season here, led Canada to a world championship and played very well at the world championship, Mike Smith, and I'm really encouraged by how his season finished. We've got really a star we all know Oliver Ekman Larsson who's one of the top defensemen in the league. I think when you look at the return to health of Marty Hanzal and Mikkel Boedker, it's when they went down in January and February, it really affected our team.

Certainly the continued maturation of Tobias Rieder who had a real good year, Connor Murphy is going to grow, Klas Dahlbeck came in and really showed us that there's a real good chance that he could be a regular player for us, and then you bring into the young group that are turning pro, Max Domi and Anthony Duclair or Dauphin. I know we've never force fed the young players into our lineup, guys like Brendan Perlini and Christian Dvorak. It's exciting to me what's coming down the road, and we have to do some good things, but we certainly feel that we can be a much more competitive, get back our identity and respectability and continue to grow this franchise.

Q.Is there an expectation that this team just won't get to the floor, that they're I guess with Barroway's addition there was talk about financial flexibility that he would bring. Is this a time that we could see that financial flexibility be tapped into, that it's not just let's get to the floor, that we have some leeway to make some moves that we see necessary?

DON MALONEY: Our budget has been increased from last year. More importantly our infrastructure, more is being spent behind the scenes, in our development. We obviously just hired another assistant manager, our scouting, our European scouting. It's a lot of things people don't see, and what we're trying to do and what we are doing is just getting up to speed with the rest of the league.

All in all, we're not going to be a cap team, but you know what, Calgary wasn't a cap team and Ottawa weren't a cap team. We need to do a lot of things well. We have to fill our holes with some good decisions, continue to grow our young people, and the parity in this league is so tight that we just think if we can do some things right, we know we have a great coaching staff, and we start with an All Star goalie, get him back to form and an All Star defenseman is a great way to start. If we can fill in the rest of the holes, I think we can all get back to where we want to be in a hurry.

Q.Don, Tip, watching the Playoffs, what you guys have discussed internally over the summer, what you see in the Playoffs, does it change the direction in which you may look to grow the team, or is it still what you had in your mind at the beginning as what you're looking at moving forward?

DAVE TIPPETT: Well, what you have, you have to look at your assets that you have and the assets you have coming and the key assets we have and build the team you think you can win with. If you look at the teams that have won over the last two or three years, not every team is the same. If you look at Los Angeles, two of the last four years, they were probably classed as more of a heavier team, hard core checking. You have two teams in the Finals right now, much more speed. You have to have an organization with flexibility, but we feel like with our assets, all of our young assets, Perlini, Domi, Duclair, speed is going to be a big part of our movement going forward. We expect to build that way, but that being said, you don't want to get into a situation where you're going to play against a team that your speed is countered by their heaviness.

We've had extensive discussions here over the last couple months with ownership, with management, with our coaching staff, and I think we've put a lot of good plans in place, if we can get this thing going the right way. Nobody wants to have another year like last year. That goes right through the organization, and that's not what we're going to be about here. But we're going to build a team that we think we can win with.

As a coach you go into every game, you want to win. That's just the nature of the business. And losing kills you. So we're going to go into next year thinking every game we're going to try to win every game. But we also have to keep the future in mind that we're going to put some young players in our lineup that are going to help us win, and if you see the way the game is played right now, the two teams in the Finals, speed and skill is a big factor when it comes to games.

Q.Your presence here, can we interpret that as your status with the organization remains unchanged, everything is kind of status quo?

DAVE TIPPETT: There's lots of speculation out there, but as I mentioned at the end of the year, it's going to take a couple months to sift through things and just see where we are, and basically we're going to have a couple months to go over it. Like I say, Don and I have spent a lot of time together, with our pro scouts, with our amateur scouts, with ownership, and I really believe that there's a blueprint in place that we can move this thing ahead in a hurry. It's a miserable end of the year. It's miserable for everybody. We just want to make sure if we're going to do this thing we're going to did it right, and we took our time and due diligence, and I think we're on the right path.

Q.If you finished up with kind of rehashing and going over the past season, what's kind of the next phase as we move closer to the draft? What's next for you in your process of evaluating and trying to get better?

DAVE TIPPETT: Well, we continue to evaluate where we are. We'll evaluate with Don and his staff and his scouts where players might fit into this structure that we want to play. There's lots of organizations going on with our development camp which we're going to do a little bit different this year that's much more geared to individual teaching and teaching young players how to be good pros. Like Don had mentioned, there's far more that goes into an organization rather than just the sport of the last game. If you're going to be a top organization you have to do things behind the scenes that make you a top organization, and these are all things that we've been talking about for the last couple months and I feel very good about.

Q.With the lineup essentially being very young, how valuable is it to have Shane Doan in the locker room and just sort of have guys that have been there before?

DAVE TIPPETT: Well, he's going to be critical to our success. If you look at what Shane a tough year for Shane last year. We traded some veteran players away along with the fact that Marty Hanzal got hurt for half the season, he was kind of on an island in that dressing room from a leadership standpoint. Oliver Ekman Larsson jumped in and took a bigger role, which will continue to grow, but certainly that's a scenario that we know we have to address.

We have good young players, but they have to be surrounded with some very good veteran players, because young players can tend to get astray a little bit, and you need a good mix if you're going to have a good team.

Q.Have any of you talked to Shane? I know he mentioned how difficult the season was and wanting to mull over whatever he needed to mull over this summer. Is his status, too, just he's ready to see this process through?

DON MALONEY: Yeah, I know Tip has talked to him. I had breakfast with him I guess two weeks ago. Really his mindset, Shane sees the good in everybody, so when you take out a couple of his friends, and like Tip said, part of the leadership group where he's by himself in a sinking ship and doesn't know how to get off, so he's good.

He's back, he's refreshed, he knows what we need to do. We're going to need leadership and good leadership, and he's been dragging this franchise along for five years, and maybe his role gets reduced somewhat. It's up to Tip and his staff, but he certainly is important to who we are, how we want to play, the image we want to show to the world, and so I'm happy to say, he's refreshed and excited to go to training camp.

Q.Don, the team recently created a front office position specifically for analytics, an assistant general manager in charge of analytics. Can you explain to everyone why that was done and what's expected of John Chayka?

DON MALONEY: Well, the last few years obviously analytics have become a very important piece of the puzzle. We have done I'd say fairly rudimentary, we had a person in our office that was on top of the basic Fenwicks and Corsis. Tip for years has used analytics from a coaching standpoint in regards to match ups and who plays against who. But from where I sit, I had yet to find something that made sense to me from a valuation standpoint. I can kind of figure out if you have the puck more, you're probably going to be a better team. But it's using all the data that's out there to really analyze the players in a meaningful way.

Darcy Regier in the fall probably went through 12 interviews between companies that came in here, individuals, just as we not only Andy Barroway took over, first thing he said, I want us to get more involved in analytics, Gary, the whole ownership group understands that it's a piece of the puzzle that we really aren't involved with enough.

Consequently John came in, he did a presentation to both Tip and I. We had discussions, and for me it was the first time I thought we found somebody that made sense, from how he was saying and how he was explaining what he was saying. He's a very interesting person. Very young, 25, very intelligent, really got his start in player development from an analytical standpoint, and then built his own company up, too. So we're thrilled to have him. I think he's going to touch all the different areas of our organization from certainly player evaluation, minor league player evaluation, draft preparation, coaching support wherever it's needed from where Tip said.

It's important that he have a title that's reflective of his value in the organization, so we're happy to have him.

Q.Anthony, how would you kind of categorize right now the organization's relationship with the city of Glendale in regards to the chatter that's been going on in regards to the agreement between both sides?

ANTHONY LeBLANC: Yeah, you're right. There's been a fair amount of chatter the last few weeks that we feel is quite unnecessary. Yesterday, in fact, Andy Barroway came into town specifically so we could get together with the city of Glendale, so we met with Mayor Jerry Weiers, Vice Mayor Ian Hugh, the city attorney Michael Bailey, and the acting city manager Dick Bowers, and we had a good meeting. We talked about a variety of things. We talked about how we can work closer together. I mean, Vice Mayor Hugh made a good suggestion in regards to how we may be able to work collectively to drive more events into the building, which would drive more revenue to the city.

The mayor, you know, on August 5th of 2013 when we closed the deal actually I guess it was in July when we had the vote with the city of 2013, he came up to me afterwards, and he said, look, at the end of the day I wasn't a supporter of the deal, but I want to do what I need to do to work with the Coyotes and make things work, and I take him as a man of his word, and he reiterated that yesterday. Having that said, we did make comments that we were disappointed in some of the things that some of the council members had said to members of the media, particularly members of the media in Canada, that quite frankly were untrue, and it did, it was unnecessary.

So what we discussed yesterday was how can we work closer together to make things work and grow things. I mean, at the end of the day, this year is a great example of what happens beneficial for the city if we work together. The revenues of the city of Glendale have taken in this year compared to last year are already up over a million dollars year over year, which that's a significant increase, and we're now in our fourth quarter, so the year is not even over yet. Our fiscal year ends at the end of this year, in which it's a quarter we've already held two concerts and we have one more this weekend. So the revenues will be even higher than that $1 million additional.

As these two gentlemen have just been talking about, everyone in this room knows it wasn't our best year on the ice, therefore our revenues from a hockey perspective were relatively flat.

So we can only imagine the great things that can happen once this team starts doing the things that we expect it to do from a revenue perspective with the city of Glendale.

So the relationship with any governmental agency is going to be trying at times just because of the politics that are involved, but we look forward to growing that relationship and continuing to foster it.

Q.Anthony, do you believe that you were in compliance with the contract, and do you feel like the city is in compliance, and are we going to see some of the final numbers come out here soon from the city?

ANTHONY LeBLANC: So I think what you're referencing is there's an audit that happens every year, and it's taken it took us a little longer to get the final numbers and information over to the city simply because of the transaction that we concluded with Mr. Barroway at the end of last year, and now the city is in the process of finalizing that.

Now this chatter about being in compliance, that one, and we discussed this yesterday, as well, I mean, we said to the city, look, no one has ever told us that they feel we're not in compliance with the lease. As a matter of fact, the only thing that's happened over the last month or so is it does appear some confidential information has been shared with members of the press and it certainty didn't come from us.

I asked the city attorney, Michael Bailey, directly, do you have anything of concern that you want to share with us regarding the agreement, and he had nothing that he wanted to share. And we actually referenced, again, back to Sarah's point in regards to things that have been in the media, there was speculation regarding our relationship that we used to have with Fortress Investment Group, who was our original lender, and indicated that they felt that that was in breach. I mean, the reality is it's a moot point. We don't have them as a lender any longer.

Again, it was chatter that was unnecessary, but emphatically, no, we have never breached, we are in full compliance. The agreement is in full force and effect.

Q.Don, how was the combine for you in terms of the process of getting ready to make this pick and what type of chatter might you have picked up on when everyone kind of congregated in Buffalo? Are you holding onto that pick or is there a market for trading it?

DON MALONEY: Well, first of all, as you probably all know, the combine moved from Toronto where it was for 15 years down to Buffalo, and it was really well done. The Sabre organization, the central scouting led by Dan Marr, they really did a terrific job. It was efficient, well run, well staffed, people were at their interviews on time. We did our interviews in the suites of the building, and then the testing was done in a new facility they have there, and it really was professional. When you look at it and how efficient things were run, they eliminated probably four, five tests that were antiquated 10 years ago and brought in some new modern testing apparatus, so all in all, it couldn't have gone better.

So we ran through 75 interviews over the course of the week, took out three or four special players for dinner, made us pick up the tab. We tried to stick them because they're going to have all the money down the road, but all in all, it was good.

It's interesting, this draft, because if you think about it, the first two picks are that's a lay up. Everybody, even I can mess that up. But intrigue starts in the third pick, and that's our pick, and that's what makes it exciting for us.

If you look at history and you look at that third pick, you can start with a guy who's going to play like Jonathan Toews and Henrik Sedin and Matt Duchene, and just gives you a little idea what the quality of player is for that pick. We're not saying it's going to be next year, and quite frankly that pick, if we do take the pick, really there's more development time needed in my opinion. But it's exciting to think what that might be down the road.

I was approached by three teams, had a call right before now asking me what would it take to get that pick, and I'm like, first born, second born, maybe I could use a helicopter to take me to work, things along that line. That would certainly get us to start thinking about it.

But all in all, those deals start being discussed now, and they end up if there's a deal there, it'll be on the draft floor. The idea that we're going to trade that pick outright for a player to help us next year, I think that's remote, but you never know. It's probably more likely we trade down if we don't take the pick. So we'll see.

Q.Probably it will include some other assets that could provide immediate help if it's a trade down? Do you get the sense what package that might include?

DON MALONEY: Well, in all candor, the good thing of having such a miserable season is we were able to acquire extra draft picks. Last year is a perfect example why you need extra picks. If you think about last year's draft, we take Perlini, who's a terrific prospect. First pick in the second round was Ryan MacInnis, really liked, great year in Kitchener, probably going to be the captain there next year, but our second pick of the second round was Christian Dvorak, who not only was close to leading the league in scoring, center iceman, smart, strong. I think he'll make a run at a roster spot.

The point is that your chances of success are greatly increased when you have multiple picks.

On the other hand, we know we have a team next year we have to put on the ice. We have holes. Nobody is going to give us good players without giving up something, and that's why we are certainly open for business, whether it's the Chicago pick, our pick in the second round. We've got two firsts, two seconds, two thirds. We have two firsts next year. We have lots of good assets that we can use to better our team and we're certainly not against using it in the right deal, keeping in mind that our long term goal is to have a championship here in Arizona.

Q.Don, besides the draft you can make trades, you can acquire free agents. Really almost the fourth rail of building a team now is casualties, is it not? Do you see a lot of teams in that position where they may have to maneuver?

DON MALONEY: Yeah, I mean, really it's we really don't find out where the cap is until draft time for next year. Certainly estimates sound to be around 71 million, but there's that whole inflator issue that for a team like us we'd rather not have the inflator and just let's lower the cap. So yeah, the answer is there are teams that are actively seeking to move people. We have interest in some of those people, but we'd rather get them for less. So that's the game right now is to try and figure out who's really in trouble and how much what we can get to help our team because we do have holes. We would rather not sacrifice a real good asset for the short term. I'm not going to do that for short term help, but we will pay up if we see somebody that comes in here that's going to help us the next two, three years, because as much as you have, you hope that four or five years are real good, the reality is that we need to show improvement, and we need to show it now.

Q.With all that flexibility at the draft, how much does what happens on draft day impact maybe free agency a week later?

DON MALONEY: Well, it's all interrelated. If we can find a centerman at the draft, that's great. Now we only need two centermen.

It just depends what comes our way. Those draft picks have the most currency draft day, and sometimes you can get something there where a day later the second round pick in '16 isn't that interesting. We just have to be organized and flexible, and I think we have a real clear idea where we need to go with this and how we have to get there. It's a matter of executing some deals and then being ready in free agency because that's going to be an important part for us. It's not a great field per se, but there are good players that can help us, and we just have to be in a position to find a way to acquire them for the right price.

Q.With all the chatter that's gone around, it seems like this is kind of the most important part of the year for you, this evaluation period for you. How does the organization insulate you so you can focus on your job and not have to deal with discussion about deals with the city or whatever?

DON MALONEY: Oh, no, well, that's all Anthony, thank goodness. He does all the heavy lifting

in dealing with all the business. Everything to do with the business is under Anthony's umbrella. But we have it good. Darcy Regier has been at this a long, long time. Tip has been involved in all our discussions in the last few months, from our pro scout meetings, amateur discussions, free agent discussions, staffing discussions, so we've got an experienced group here that we have to rely on, and our scouts and our new analysts, and hopefully we can make some good decisions.

Q.And then with you guys coming out with the new jerseys soon, coming out with a youth movement, is this something where you guys are kind of trying to rebrand and take the youth movement as, I guess, a way to turn over a new leaf as a new Coyotes franchise?

ANTHONY LeBLANC: Well, it's interesting with the new uniform that we announced and we'll be unveiling in a couple of weeks, I didn't appreciate before I got involved in the business the amount of lead time and the work that goes in behind the scenes, so this has been something that's been in the plans since shortly after we took ownership, which is 20 months ago.

In regards to how that ties in with the structure of the team or the makeup of the team, they're really completely separate. We wanted to come in, we felt it was the right thing to do, we think it's a great, great uniform, great logo, we just wanted to make some tweaks, so it's a freshness that comes from that uniform, but that's basically where it ends in regards to the tie in to the work that Don and his staff and Tip are doing in regards to the organization.

But I think that it is interesting that it does kind of dovetail into a time where, yeah, we are looking at making some changes to the organization.

DON MALONEY: Yeah, I wouldn't characterize it as a youth movement per se because it's been proven over time, we stick six or seven 20 year olds, 19 year olds or 18 year olds in the lineup, we'll be sitting here next year ready to shoot ourselves.

The reality is that we are going to introduce some young people, and it's going to fun, exciting, and the energy they can bring, but like Tip alluded to, we need a core group of veterans to show them what it means like to play every game, on the road, at home, all the travel involved. It's very difficult for players that have never been in the league to take a leading role in that, and so we're trying to protect them as much as anything else by finding some good veterans that can help, and again, I go back, the positive for me and for us is that we do have Ekman Larsson and we do have even Boedker who's now in a role of a guy that we're going to have to lean on to show how we kind of have to play and play every night. It's not like we're starting from scratch.

I look at Boedker and Hanzal as almost two new players for us because they were gone when the worst was happening last year.

Q.Anthony, are there any plans for the changes to the arena over the summer, opening suites, anything like that?

ANTHONY LeBLANC: Yeah, so last season we made some significant changes in investment into the food and beverage offerings in some of the clubs. Where we're focused on this season, although it's more behind the scenes, but equal if not more dollars, several million dollars on our technology, so we're refreshing the entire technology that's involved in the building, because we tend to forget that this is moving on to a 12 year old building, still using old Nortel technology, so we're going to upgrade that. But from a fan's perspective what we're excited about is the fact that we will be adding wi fi to the building, a very robust, high end wi fi system that all fans will have the benefit and of course all of our friends in the press will I'm sure enjoy that a little bit more. But that will be introduced in time for the upcoming season.

So those are the two key things that we're looking at doing under the technology umbrella, but we are also looking at some additional tweaks to our clubs, and I have been advised that we should probably add, even though we have two Tim Hortons in the building that we probably should add a third, which I say with a smile, but it's something we are looking at doing.

Q.Any update on where those bids were to host potential Frozen Four, the World Junior, the connection with ASU, anything

ANTHONY LeBLANC: Yeah, so on the World Junior front, we are actively putting together what I think is going to be a very compelling bid for the USA Hockey to review. Those initial bids are due at the end of this month. As a matter of fact, I just met with the staff this morning and in discussions of where we are.

As I said, I'm very impressed with what the team has been able to put together, and I think the fact that this is a location that has hosted some pretty high end events as recently as this year with the Super Bowl, next year with the College [Football] Championship, the year after that with the Final Four, we feel very excited about that.

We continue to work with ASU. Very excited, regardless of where the relationship goes, the fact that that program is going Division I. It's nothing but good for our for the brand of hockey in the Valley. But I feel fairly strongly that we'll be announcing a much tighter relationship with ASU.

And as for a Frozen Four, a number of us spent time in Boston at this year's Frozen Four and starting that process. The next Frozen Four available is quite a few years out; they book them up fairly far in advance. But again, that ties in nicely with the relationship with ASU. They are the ones who would lead an eventual Frozen Four bid, but those are a high profile things that we're looking at, but as I said, in part of the discussion with the city yesterday, it's all about driving more events.

And then hopefully we have more events next year called the Playoffs, which would continue to drive more revenue to the team and to the city.

Q.Dave, how closely did you watch the World Championship, and how much stock did you put in Mike Smith's performance for Canada in winning the gold medal?

DAVE TIPPETT: I watched a lot of the games, talked to the coaching staff there, talked to some other players, talked to Smitty, and all very positive. Very positive. They knew he was their guy going into the tournament. He did nothing to derail that at all. They had a phenomenal team. They were a stacked team, but there was a couple times in the tournament that Smitty was relied on and came up and played very well. I've had a number of conversations with Smitty since he got back. He's feeling very good, very confident, just like I've talked to most of our key veterans here. They're very motivated, very motivated to make sure that our team is much better when we show up in camp.

Smitty health wise is great, mental state of how he finished the year is great. We just need him to come in and play that way at the start of the year, and I have every belief that he'll do that. He's as good as I've heard him in a long time.

Q.Don, you mentioned Mikkel Boedker earlier. Can you give the fans a sense of where you are with his contract negotiations? I know he's a restricted free agent.

DON MALONEY: Yeah, we continue to have discussions. I think we're moving forward. I'd like to think so. You always hope you can do these things in a hurry but it never seems to be the case, and we fully expect to get him signed. It's just an ongoing process. Hopefully we'll get that done in relatively short order because he's important to us. He's a key guy for us, and he's here, it's just a matter of whether we do something long, long term or long term or short term. We'll see.

Q.What would be your preference, just lock him up for as long as you can?

DON MALONEY: Yeah, I think at his age and where his game is going and the maturity he's showing, even the way he's progressed over the last two or three years, you know, but it all comes down to term and dollars. We have to be careful. We just don't want to be caught in a position where we're overcommitting. We have a lot of good young players coming yet. There was a great article that Steve Simmons wrote in the Sun, I don't know if you saw it yesterday, about Tampa and Chicago and how they built their team, and the thing that came out is the patience it requires, the timeline it requires, from the time you have the low, low pick to your playoff Stanley Cup contender, I thought it was excellent.

To me we're right at the forefront of that. This year was miserable, we're going to get some great picks, just hopefully we can accelerate the franchise development timeline and get respect back.

Q.How is his health?

DON MALONEY: Yeah, sure, he's doing great. He reports in weekly. He's training, and no, we certainly don't expect any hopefully that's behind him. He's been fortunately he's been relatively healthy for most of his career. It was a freak thing.

Q.Can you address the change in the American Hockey League affiliation, why that came about, what it means?

DON MALONEY: Yeah, we will be in Springfield next season, the Springfield Falcons. What happened was it was really when Anthony's group came in, we were at the forefront of trying to get a division or really start or form our own league out West here just in terms of the changing the development model, less games, more practice times.

Long story short, five teams are coming West and forming a Pacific Division. In our situation, there just Anaheim and the Coyotes, we had to buy a team, Anaheim were able to purchase Norfolk, which were the only team for sale, so through Anthony was actually involved in discussions trying to see is there another team out there for sale at a price that made any sense whatsoever. So long story short, to this day there isn't one available to us.

We like the relationship in Portland. I was adamant about not doing a longer term deal, and when I found out it did not look like we were going to be in a position to bring a team West in the very near future, I reached back out, they had made a commitment to Florida, and just through the shifting of alliances we ended up in Springfield, which I actually think it's better for us. The travel is better. They have a great facility. They have they've been in the league a long time. Bruce Landon has run that team for many, many years, real good hockey person. It's easy to get to in the sense of you fly into Hartford, you can fly into Boston and even Portland now with the loss of Manchester and Worcester, they're on a little bit of an island out there. The travel all of a sudden gets a lot more.

Long story short, I think it's an upgrade for us to move there. Darcy Regier is going to be managing the team and put that team together. We're close to finding our head coach down there. We changed our coaching staff out, so we're excited about moving forward with Springfield.

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