Coyotes 'exploring' legal action after deep dive into club's alleged business practices

Justin Cuthbert
·2 min read
GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 08:  A wide view of Gila River Arena during a break during the Arizona Coyotes NHL training camp scrimmage on January 8, 2021 at Gila River Arena in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Kevin Abele/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
The Arizona Coyotes are embroiled in yet another controversy. (Kevin Abele/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

After an investigative report was published by The Athletic detailing issues with leadership, business practices, and workplace culture apparently observed and experienced inside the organization's business and hockey operations departments, the Arizona Coyotes are threatening to pursue legal action.

ESPN's Greg Wyshynski obtained a release from the Coyotes, who have taken umbrage with Katie Strang of The Athletic for her exhaustive reporting on the alleged happenings inside the organization since Alex Meruelo gained ownership of the club 18 months ago, calling into question the publication's ethics.

"We are very disappointed that The Athletic, for several months, has condoned a harassment campaign against Mr. Alex Meruelo, the Arizona Coyotes, the Meruelo Group and dozens of current employees and former employees.

"We question the potential reliance by The Athletic on disgruntled ex-employees who have proven to be untrustworthy and lacking in candor on confidential non-public information, and on vendors with whom the Club secured negotiated settlements to undo years of financial mismanagement under prior ownership and Club leadership."

The statement went on to defend Meruelo's body of work, touting the "massive investment" made into the club amid an economic downturn, his role as a community leader, and his "40-year track record of success in multiple industries and business enterprises."

It concluded this way:

"As we will be exploring all of our legal options in response to The Athletic, we will not have any further comments."

GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 08:  A wide view of Gila River Arena during a break during the Arizona Coyotes NHL training camp scrimmage on January 8, 2021 at Gila River Arena in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Kevin Abele/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 08: A wide view of Gila River Arena during a break during the Arizona Coyotes NHL training camp scrimmage on January 8, 2021 at Gila River Arena in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Kevin Abele/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Strang's piece, which touches on alleged financial troubles plaguing Meruelo and the team, questionable business tactics, messy disputes between the club and its vendors, abuses of power, and a "toxic" work culture illustrated by ex-employees and one currently disgruntled, includes insight provided through interviews with more than 50 people.

Neither the NHL or the Coyotes themselves, however, were willing to speak on the subject after multiple requests from the author.

Find the full piece, which is most certainly worth your time, here.

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