Preparing for what appears to be an inevitable NHL work stoppage in September, the Coyotes cut back their workforce by 16 positions on Friday.
Five members of the Coyotes’ team staff were laid off — game operations coordinator Jill Diamond, desktop tech support assistant Michael Eberhard, assistant controller John Gabriel, customer service representative Alison Kabele and manager of publications and media relations Ryan Lichtenfels.
In addition, seven staff members at Glendale Arena were also laid off and four additional positions at the arena have been eliminated. Team president Doug Moss made the announcements at a staff meeting Friday.
"There were several ways we could have gone here, but we didn’t want people spending the whole summer worrying about their job status,’’ Moss said. "We could have waited until (the Sept. 15 end of the current collective bargaining agreement), but we had already identified the moves we would make and we wanted to look into other opportunities.’’
All those who were let go were given severance packages and will have their benefits paid for 90 days. Moss said some of the people who were laid off at the arena have already found new jobs through their department heads.
Moss said all executives and managers will not receive bonuses for the 2003-04 season, and instead that money will be used to give the remaining 80-85 employees an across-the-board 3 percent raise as of July 1.
In an unrelated move, hockey operations coordinator Igor Kuperman has left the organization to become the vice president and executive director of a new professional hockey league in eastern Europe. It begins operation in 2005-06 with 12 clubs. The Coyotes have no current plans to fill the position.
LOOSE PUCKS: Team sources confirm that former Carolina coach Paul Maurice is not a candidate for the vacant Coyotes job. Maurice did not meet with Phoenix general manager Mike Barnett or any other member of the organization.