Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Looking for a career challenge? Coyotes have a gig for you

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The listing on is job No. 22972719.

The location is Glendale, A.Z. The description is "sales and management."

And if you're looking for a challenge, folks, this is the gig for you: President and CEO of the Phoenix Coyotes.

Sounds kinda swank, right? Hey, Mr. President. And probably pays a pretty penny, too.

We've been looking over the listing, however, and before you get out the resumé and start padding, we should point out a few concerns. Because if there's such a concept as truth in advertising, it has yet to fully encompass the want ads.

First, under 'Background' there's this second sentence: "Now entering their 14th season in the desert, the (Coyotes) organization has produced some of the area's top sports stories in the Valley of the Sun and is poised for even greater success in the future."

This is true. Just ask Judge Redfield T. Baum. The Coyotes have made a lot of news. The old owner went bankrupt. That Balsillie fellow tried to up and haul them off to Hamilton. The team was orphaned to the league. And now a new ownership group has emerged that has graciously allowed the city to pay another $200 million or so to keep the team afloat.

Brother, that's a lot of top stories.

Neither do we disagree that the Coyotes play "in one of the nation's premier sports facilities, the Arena." Beautiful barn. Hardly been used. But the listing then states that the arena "is in the heart of a 223-acre, $1 billion development Westgate City Center, a cultural hotspot filled with fine dining, premier shopping and entertainment." At least, if you consider Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville bar and grill fine dining. (Which your humble agent does, thank-you.)

One thing, though. The Westgate City Center was planned to be a $1 billion development. This is akin to saying the Winnipeg Blue Bombers PLANNED to open their new stadium in the summer of 2011. So let's just say Phase 2 is a few years off.

"In addition to hosting the NHL team," the listing continues, "the arena has hosted numerous world-class concerts and events since opening in December 2003 including U2, Elton John, the Rolling Stones and Paul McCartney." Also true, but it should be noted that over the next few weeks, the arena will host, between hockey games, an evening with evangelical preacher David Jeremiah (free), the Nuclear Cowboyz motocross riders, a bull rodeo and, of course, Yanni (May 15, good tickets still available!)

Poor sap

Hey, we're just sayin.' After all, you wouldn't want some poor sap to quit their job, sell their house and move all the way to Arizona to discover that the billion-dollar development contains a dancing fountain, a hotel, a few restaurants and a yogurt stand, would you?

Further, the posting reads that any interested candidates should contact the head hunting firm of Turnkey Search directly. "Contacting the Phoenix Coyotes," it notes, "will only delay consideration of your qualifications."

Don't worry too much about any delays. After all, although Glendale council has already agreed to subsidize both the purchase and subsequent losses of the team, the final capitulation has yet to be made official.

Which brings us to "Position overview" which states that "the CEO will have profit and loss responsibility for the overall business of the Phoenix Coyotes and related facility."

This could be a problem. The Coyotes lost around $300 million under former owner Jerry Moyes. The team lost at least $20 million last year under league management. Since there is no profit, this could only mean that the new CEO will have to deal only with "loss responsibility".

Have no fear, though. Because whoever gets to be president of the Phoenix Coyotes -- at least according to the listing -- will make Steve Jobs look like a chump. There are over 30 listings under 'Principle accountabilities." This gem, for example: "Evaluate existing competencies using key organizational performance measurements and identify and develop the corporate capabilities required to become a leader in the marketplace."

If anyone has a clue what that corporate-speak actually means, we're pretty certain they're exactly the person the Coyotes are looking for.

Want the job? We're just telling you what we told Glendale councillors: Be sure to read the fine print.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 18, 2011 B6

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About Randy Turner

While attending Boissevain High School in the late 1970’s, Randy Turner one day read an account of a Winnipeg Jets game in the Free Press when it dawned on him: "Really, you can get paid to watch sports?"

Turner later graduated with a spectacularly mediocre 2.3 GPA from Red River Community College’s Creative Communications program. 

After jobs at the Stonewall Argus and Selkirk Journal, he began working on the Rural page for the Free Press in 1987. Several years later, he realized his dream of watching sports for a living covering the Winnipeg Goldeyes and Bombers.

In 2001, Turner became a general sports columnist, where he watched Canada win its first Olympic gold medal in men’s hockey in 50 years at Salt Lake, then watched them win again in Vancouver in 2010.

He also watched everything from high school hockey and volleyball championship to several Grey Cups, NHL finals and World Junior hockey tournaments.

In the fall of 2011, Turner became a general features writer for the paper. But he still watches way too much sports.

Turner has been nominated for three National Newspaper Awards in sports writing.


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