With Gerard Gallant's firing by the Vegas Golden Knights on Wednesday, a spot opened up to coach the Pacific Division at the 2020 NHL All-Star Game. On Thursday, the NHL filled the spot with Arizona Coyotes head coach Rick Tocchet.
Tocchet's Coyotes currently sit in first place in the Pacific Division with a 26-18-5 record. He will join the Boston Bruins' Bruce Cassidy (Atlantic), the Washington Capitals Todd Reirden (Metropolitan) and the hometown St. Louis Blues' Craig Berube (Central).
Over the course of his 18-year NHL career, Tocchet attended four NHL All-Star Games representing the Flyers three times and the Pittsburgh Penguins once. He compiled a 2-2 record for the Wales Conference and netted four goals and three assists. The 1993 NHL All-Star Game in New York saw Tocchet replace teammate Mario Lemieux who was undergoing treatment for Hodgkin's Lymphoma.
Darcy Kuemper was set to be the Coyotes lone player representative; however, he has been out since mid-December with a lower-body injury and was replaced on Wednesday by the Calgary Flames netminder David Rittich. Clayton Keller was listed in the "Last Men In" vote but lost out to Vancouver's Quinn Hughes.
Tocchet is the second-ever Coyotes head coach to be behind the bench for an All-Star Game. Jim Schoenfeld served as an assistant coach for the champion Team North America at the 1999 event.
The 2020 NHL All-Star Game will be held on Saturday, Jan. 25 in St. Louis with the All-Star Skills Competition on Friday night.