In a bizarre turn of events ahead of the NHL's 2020 Stanley Cup playoffs qualifying round, one playoff contender's top executive has abruptly quit.
On Sunday, the Arizona Coyotes announced that General Manager and President of Hockey Operations John Chayka has quit. The team expressed disappointment in Chayka's decision to resign, accusing him of quitting on a competitive team.
"John Chayka has quit as the General Manager and President of Hockey Operations of the Arizona Coyotes," the Coyotes said. "The Club is disappointed in his actions and his timing as the Coyotes prepare to enter the NHL's hub city of Edmonton, where the team will begin post-season play for the first time since 2012. Chayka has chosen to quit on a strong and competitive team, a dedicated staff, and the Arizona Coyotes fans, the greatest fans in the NHL... The Club will have no further comment on the matter..."
The team announced that Steve Sullivan has been named as Interim General Manager. Arizona is schedule to play the Nashville Predators next Sunday in the opener of their best-of-five qualifying round.
Meanwhile, Chayka released his own statement on the situation. He called his decision to resign a situation brought on by the ownership.
But Chayka's icy relationship with the team didn't come out of nowhere. Last week there were rumors that he had largely cut off ties with the team.
SportsNet found sources who said he had "gone dark" and did not attend a scheduled dinner with impending free agent Taylor Hall.
It's a bizarre situation in a year absolutely full of them.