Gosbee Q & A: I’m 100 percent behind this club
GLENDALE, Ariz. — We had some leftovers from our lengthy interview with Coyotes co-owner, chairman and governor George Gosbee that still warranted attention. Here is his take on several other topics in a Q&A.
FSAZ: There has been some concern expressed locally that your decision to pull back a bit from the day-to-day operations of the team is a sign that you’re not committed to this franchise for the long term.
Gosbee: (laughing) "I have a lot of other things going on. I said last year that I would get the (purchase) deal done by working with the NHL to bring in some other capital with partners and then dedicate a large portion of my time to make sure everything was working. But we feel comfortable with it now, so I get the luxury of being more of a fan and let’s face it, I have to get back to my other job (Gosbee serves as the chairman, president, and CEO at AltaCorp Capital Inc.).
Gosbee: "Yes. We’re busy interviewing candidates, and we’re looking to fill that position very soon. We’re using a bunch of different head hunters but to be honest, it’s a pretty small community. Technically, we probably didn’t need the head hunters, but we’re being thorough."
FSAZ: "It’s been a recent trend in the NHL for teams to hire analytics consultants to get a better feel for the on-ice productivity of players. Do you plan to follow suit, and what is your thought on this trend?
Gosbee: "Myself and the partners, for most of our careers, have made money off quants and stats and charts. In spending the first year understanding hockey ops, we think we’re on to something, and we are spending some time and resources on it right now. If you sit in a room with the partners, we have more quants and stats than we know what to do with, and (new assistant GM) Darcy Regier is a big believer in it, so we’re excited."
FSAZ: That was an artful way of not answering my question.
Gosbee: (laughs again). "That was a large part of Avik’s role, and as you know, (coach) Dave Tippett has his own stats that he keeps. Part of what made (Oakland A’s GM) Billy Beane so successful is he never told anyone about his approach. We put a lot of emphasis on it, and we will place more on it. I’ll leave it at that. We think we have a good plan."
FSAZ: You have some pretty strong views of the Valley as a sports market.
Gosbee: "I was actually on an airplane coming down here, really ticked off about how Forbes determined this is one of the worst sports markets in North America. I understand how they measured it on wins and championships, but I come from a place (Calgary) that has one major sports team and no college teams. I come down here, and I’m busy every night of the week. To me, this is one of the greatest sports towns in the U.S. You have all four major pro teams and a major college team, then you add in the great weather and spring training, which is a unique experience. My wife said if we ever moved here full-time, she’d never see me. I’d be at games every night. This is the kind of market I want to be in. It’s vibrant. There’s always something going on."
FSAZ: Would either GM Don Maloney or coach Dave Tippett be on the hot seat if this team missed the playoffs for a third straight season?
Gosbee: "You obviously never know what’s going to happen over the course of a season, but that’s not how we look at it. We look at last season as the first season. This was our first season as owners with Don and Dave, so whatever happened before that doesn’t factor into our thinking. This club was in a unique and difficult situation, and they did great work during that time under really difficult circumstances. We’ve got a lot of confidence in those guys and to be honest, we’re still learning so much from them. The reality is, when Don and Tip come in the room, we listen."
FSAZ: What would you tell fans who were disappointed with the team’s inactivity during free agency?
Gosbee: "It helps when you come out and support the team by having confidence that we’re building something for the long term and not just this year."