Tough guy Riley Cote has retired from professional hockey and will take a job as an assistant coach with the Adirondack Phantoms, the team announced on Monday afternoon. Cote only played a handful of minutes in all of 2009-10, and he spent most of the season in a suit and tie instead of hockey equipment.
When it comes to the salary cap, Cote's contract immediately comes off of the books. His cap hit only sat at $550,000, but any little bit can help the Flyers' tight money situation. It was expected that Cote would've either played in Adirondack next year anyway -- or perhaps he would've spent some more time in the Flyers press box -- where he wouldn't have counted against the salary cap.
Now, he'll be heading to Glens Falls anyway, but there won't be any playing involved in his move. His hockey career is over and his coaching career has begun. Who saw this one coming? A trade or perhaps a year with the Phantoms and a chance with another club? Cote is only 28 years old.
I think I can speak for all Flyers fans when I wish Cote the best in his new career as a coach. Personally, this move makes me happy as a fan because it frees up that roster spot that went completely to waste a year ago, but Cote never once complained about his role on this team last season. When he played, he went out and did his job admirably, even if he wasn't always successful at it.
Off the ice, Cote has devoted much of his life to charitable causes. A few years ago, his sister was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, and Cote worked hard through the minor league ranks to try to help that cause. When he became an NHL player, Cote used that fame -- however limited it may have been -- to bring even more awareness to the fight against the disease.
In 2009, the Cote Carnival raised almost $30,000 to benefit the fight against MS. Here's hoping that Riley can instill that same kind of determination and work ethic in young Flyers prospects at the AHL level.