Dave Tippett flew to Sydney, British Columbia, on Thursday to see his mom, Maggie, and enjoy some peace of mind. By the time the night had ended, the National Hockey League had given him a good head start on the latter.
Tippett, who has coached the Phoenix Coyotes for the most successful four-year stretch in franchise history, agreed to terms on a new deal Friday morning. The deal is believed to be similar to the five-year, $10 million deal Alain Vigneault signed Friday to become the new coach of the New York Rangers.
"The last four years have been fun and rewarding, having the ability to mold an organization with a group people you really enjoy," said Tippett, whose contract was set to expire on June 30. "We’ve started to put the blocks in place where I think we can be a very good organization."
In four seasons under Tippett, the Coyotes have posted an impressive record of 156-96-42 and have qualified for the Stanley Cup playoffs three times. Tippett ranks second on the franchise’s all-time wins list, and his .602 points percentage is the highest of any head coach in franchise history.
He has also overseen the three highest point totals in franchise history and the deepest playoff run in franchise history, as the team advanced in 2012 to the Western Conference final, where it fell to the eventual Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings. Tippett’s 427 wins in 10 seasons as an NHL coach are the second-most wins by a coach over that span.
"Elite coaching is required to win on a consistent basis and Dave is one of the best at his job in today’s game," GM Don Maloney said in a statement. "His work ethic, attention to detail, communicative skills and patience make him an ideal fit with our group as we work to build a franchise capable of winning the Stanley Cup."
It should be noted that a new deal for Tippett doesn’t necessarily mean the City of Glendale is set to approve a new lease agreement for Jobing.com Arena with prospective ownership group Renaissance Sports and Entertainment. If the deal fails, Seattle has been rumored as a possible Plan B. Tippett’s oldest daughter, Nicole, lives there and has two sons. That would make Seattle a very attractive option for Tippett and his wife, Wendy.
That doesn’t mean the deal isn’t without stipulations. It is believed Tippett’s contract contains clauses that allow him to leave the team if it relocates to a location he does not want, or if ownership changes hands again from RSE to another majority owner.
When the offseason began, Tippett said he wanted assurances of stable ownership and the ability to add some pieces and payroll to improve the club. But early this week, Tippett said he became comfortable with the direction of ownership, so he was willing discuss a deal, even though he acknowledged that there is no ownership certainty yet.
"We’re basically taking a leap of faith," Tippett said. "It’s similar to the one I took when I signed here, and that one worked out pretty well."
Tippett said it was vitally important to him that the Coyotes re-signed Maloney recently, then re-upped assistant general manager Brad Treliving, associate coach Jim Playfair and goalie coach/assistant to the GM Sean Burke.
"I came to the conclusion that I wanted to work with these people and continue to build this team the best way we can," he said. "The best way we can right now is make sure the pieces are in place to make sure we can talk to our free agents, like (goalie) Mike Smith, before July 5 and try to get them on board.
"We’ve preached loyalty and commitment to our players for four years and tried to get people to buy in under tough circumstances. It would be tough to say that on the one hand and then jump ship when you get the opportunity yourself. That’s not the way you want to see things done."