The Coyotes are "launching a coaching internship program that will allow coaches from diverse backgrounds to learn from and work with" coach Andre Tourigny and the NHL staff at the team's prospect development camp, according to Jose Romero of the ARIZONA REPUBLIC. The first two coaches to be invited to the program that opens today are Stevenson Univ. assistant coach Duante Abercrombie and Ryerson Univ. associate coach Nathaniel Brooks. Even if only for a few days, Abercrombie and Brooks "will get the opportunity to be in the dressing rooms and on the ice and in coaches meetings at the NHL level." Filmmaker Damon Kwame Mason reached out to Abercrombie and Brooks to "connect them with the Coyotes," and both Tourigny and Coyotes GM Bill Armstrong were "supportive of the internship program." Abercrombie and Brooks "will, on Sept. 13, serve as assistant coaches and be on the benches for the Coyotes prospects scrimmage at Gila River Arena." That will be the final night of the camp. In the past year, the Coyotes have "made diversity and inclusion a priority even as the organization looks for a new home in the Valley and engages in a full rebuild of the roster with an eye toward the future" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 9/9).
PROVIDING A PLATFORM: THE ATHLETIC's Ryan Clark noted Abercrombie and Brooks "will be involved in meetings and training sessions, while also gaining as much knowledge as possible from an NHL coaching staff in an authentic environment." Brooks said, "What the Coyotes are doing is something special. I feel like this is a huge step in our quest for hockey to be more diverse.” Clark noted the NHL "has not had a Black head coach" since Dirk Graham coached the Blackhawks during the '98-99 season. But there are a "handful of NHL coaches of colors ... who are currently serving on staffs throughout the league" (THEATHLETIC.com, 9/8).