Los Angeles (AFP) - John Chayka stepped down as president of hockey operations for the Arizona Coyotes on Sunday, just as the team was set to travel into a National Hockey League playoff bubble.
Chayka became the youngest general manager in NHL history when he was hired at 26 in May 2016 and signed a long-term deal with the club last November, only to exit on the verge of the team's first playoff berth since 2012.
"Chayka has chosen to quit on a strong and competitive team," the Coyotes said in a statement. "The club is disappointed in his actions and his timing."
The Coyotes, who went 33-29 with eight overtime losses, will be the 11th seed in the Western Conference playoffs that begin Saturday in Edmonton, Canada.
Arizona will face sixth-seed Nashville in a best-of-five play-in series starting next Sunday for a berth in the last 16 of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
The expanded NHL post-season was a result of the coronavirus pandemic that shut down the league March 12 with more than three weeks remaining in the regular season. Games will be staged in Edmonton and Toronto with the finals set to start in September.
Assistant general manager Steve Sullivan was named Chayka's interim replacement.