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Arizona Coyotes lose 2020 2nd-round pick, 2021 1st-round pick for violating NHL policy

The Coyotes were already without a 2020 1st-round pick due to the Taylor Hall trade. Now the Coyotes will be missing their first two picks in this year's draft.
Credit: AP
The Gila River Arena, home of the Arizona Coyotes hockey team, is closed as the Coyotes' scheduled game with the Vancouver Canucks was canceled Thursday, March 12, 2020, in Glendale, Ariz. The NHL is suspending its season amid the coronavirus outbreak, the league announced Thursday. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

GLENDALE, Ariz. — The National Hockey League announced Wednesday the Arizona Coyotes were sanctioned for violating the league's NHL Combine testing policy. 

As a result, the club must forfeit its 2nd-round pick in the upcoming 2020 NHL Draft and a 1st-round pick in the 2021 NHL Draft. 

The Coyotes already don't have a 2020 1st-round pick, as they traded it to New Jersey in the Taylor Hall deal during this previous season. 

According to the NHL, in an Aug. 6 hearing, the Coyotes organization acknowledged that it had violated the policy by conducting physical testing on 2020 draft-eligible players prior to the NHL Combine. 

Article 6.3 of the NHL Constitution empowers the Commissioner to deprive the offending Club of draft choices "if the conduct in question affects the competitive aspects of the game," according to the NHL.

"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," Commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement.

Individuals in the organization involved in the wrongdoing will not be punished further, Bettman says.

"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," Bettman continued. "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." 

The Arizona Coyotes released the following statement:

"We were advised today of the NHL's ruling regarding the allegations of physical fitness testing of draft prospects and respect the League's ruling. Under new leadership, we have added thorough internal controls and compliance measures to prevent this type of occurrence from happening again in the future. We will have no further comment."

The Coyotes made the NHL playoffs for the first time since 2012, but were eliminated by the Colorado Avalanche. 

The team announced in May it was parting ways with President and CEO Ahron Cohen and owner Alex Meruelo brought in Xavier A. Gutierrez in June. 

In July, General Manager John Chayka resigned his position and the organization expressed its disappointment in the days following:

"Chayka has chosen to quit on a strong and competitive team, a dedicated staff, and the Arizona Coyotes fans, the greatest fans in the NHL," the team said in the press release.

Last week, the Coyotes laid off and furloughed a number of staff members due to financial issues caused by the coronavirus.  

Now, the Coyotes will be missing their top two picks in the 2020 NHL Draft and their first in the 2021 draft.