On Wednesday, prior to the afternoon’s playoff action, the NHL announced that it has penalized the Arizona Coyotes for violating the League’s Combine Testing Policy. The Coyotes will forfeit their 2020 second-round pick and the 2021 first-round selection per the leagues’ PR department.
NHL has announced Coyotes’ punishment for conducting physical testing this season on draft-eligible players: lose 2nd round pick in 2020 draft and lose their 2021 1st round pick.
— Patrick Johnston (@risingaction) August 26, 2020
According to the release, commissioner Gary Bettman held the hearing on August 6th and the violation comes from the Coyotes conducting physical testing on combine eligible players prior to the combine. As Bettman noted, the policy is in play to “ensure competitive fairness”.
The Coyotes are now without a pick in the first three rounds of this year’s draft. Prior to the punishment, they were already without a first-rounder from the Taylor Hall trade. And, in 2021, they will be without a third (more Hall compensation) and now their first. All with limited cap space moving forward.
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Here is the statement from Bettman via NHL PR Department:
“While the Combine Testing Policy Memoranda reference a fine of “no less than $250,000 for each violation” of the Policy, I exercise my discretion to impose the aforementioned discipline—which I consider to be more appropriate given the specific circumstances of this case,” said Commissioner Bettman.
“As for the Club personnel who participated in, or may have contributed to, the Club’s violation of the Policy, I have decided that no discipline shall be imposed on these individuals. While I conclude that certain Club personnel acted in a grossly negligent manner at best, which was conceded by the Club, I ultimately conclude that the record does not establish—to a standard with which I am comfortable—that those individuals engaged in intentional wrongdoing, as opposed to grossly negligent behavior.”