Columbus is host to the National Hockey League All Star game this week-end. The NHL showcase will bring thousands fans and visitors to the city as well as international media attention.
Columbus Blue Jackets Fire Coach
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The Columbus Blue Jackets have faced changes and challenges during the past few years. And Monday the team faces yet another adjustment: its head coach was fired.
The Blue Jackets have the worst record in the NHL this season winning only 11 of 41 games so far. And the teamâ€™s general manager decided during the weekend to fire head coach Scott Arniel.
General Manager Scott Howson said the team played good hockey from November to mid-December. But he said the Jackets did not maintain the momentum.
â€œThe 11 games since then weâ€™ve only had two wins and our play seem to be regressing, so I just thought it was time to move the team in a new direction,” Howson said.
Assistant coach Todd Richards will serve as interim head coach for the remainder of the season. Richards said he feels partly responsible for Arnielâ€™s firing.
“Because youâ€™re there to support the head coach and help him out. You feel afterwards thereâ€™s more you couldâ€™ve done, more you shouldâ€™ve done,” Richards said.
Howson described Arniel, who became the Jacketsâ€™ head coach just 18 months ago, as a dedicated coach who just could not pull off the job.
â€œHe did everything he could. Heâ€™s a good coach. Heâ€™s a good person. He worked very hard at it. The team was prepared, and it just didnâ€™t work for him with this group,” Howson said.
Richards has head coaching experience from Minnesota. His record for the Wild was 77-71-16 before he was fired from that position.
Arnielâ€™s firing comes shortly after Franklin County Commissioners sealed the deal of the Nationwide Arena purchase by the county and the City of Columbus. The move was an effort to put the team in better financial standing after speculation it would leave town. The franchise suffered multi-million dollar losses during the past several years and was unable to pay its rent.
Remarks by Scott Howson and Todd Richards are provided by the Columbus Blue Jackets.