The Arizona Iceman

From chief operating officer to chief legal officer to CEO, Arizona Coyotes’ Ahron Cohen takes on the challenge of building a hockey fandom in the Southwest

Ahron Cohen became CEO of a major sports franchise at an age where many professional athletes are still playing the game. Taking the reins of the Arizona Coyotes in 2018 at the age of 34, Cohen moved from GC to the CEO seat in just three short years.

Cohen assumed the role during a period of significant rebuilding for the Coyotes, but after a year where the team would have certainly made the playoffs had they not incurred a successive and unrelenting string of injuries throughout the entire season that sat out key players, the Coyotes and Cohen have a lot to be proud of.

Ahron Cohen Arizona Coyotes
Ahron Cohen, Arizona CoyotesPhoto: Janelle Etzel

It’s baffling to consider that Cohen graduated law school in the same decade that he became CEO of an NHL hockey team, but that’s exactly the timing of Cohen’s rise. Having graduated Arizona State Law School in 2010, Cohen told the Phoenix Business Journal that finding a way to keep a career in sports was of the utmost importance. A Minnesota native, Cohen started an internship with the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings while attending law school.

Following his graduation, Cohen started working as outside counsel for the Coyotes as well as for the Super Bowl Host Committee in 2015. He ultimately came onboard as chief operating officer for the Coyotes in 2015, progressing to chief legal officer, alternate governor, and eventually president and CEO.

“Ever since I got there, I’ve been dealing with a lot of complex and challenging situations—both from a legal standpoint and with some other initiatives—and every step of the way I’ve tried to give everything I could to the company and help make this a better place,” Cohen told the Arizona Republic. “I’m certainly thrilled to be where I’m at now.”

While his quick rise made headlines, Cohen has had no shortage of challenges to take on since assuming the CEO role. “Really, the most important thing for us right now and what we’re focusing on is achieving our core goals,” Cohen told the Arizona Republic. “Those are building hockey fandom in Arizona, building a competitive team on the ice, and positively impacting our community.”

There’s also the challenge of figuring out just where the Coyotes are going to call home. It’s a long and complicated tale that precedes Cohen’s tenure, but regardless of what happens, the team has signed on to play another season in Glendale, Arizona, in its longtime home of Gila River Arena. “Ultimately, we have to figure out our long-term arena solution. But that problem is solved by achieving those three goals I laid out,” Cohen told the Arizona Republic. “Everything else will fall in place if we’re fulfilling those three goals.”

Cohen isn’t the only one confident in the Coyotes’ ability to continue their turnaround. “With John Chayka running our hockey operations and Ahron leading the business, the Coyotes continue to be in great hands,” Coyotes’ owner, chairman, and governor Andrew Barroway said in a statement. “I wouldn’t trade our future with any team in the NHL.”

OH Partners congratulates Ahron Cohen on this well-deserved recognition. It is a privilege to work alongside Ahron and his team as we develop and implement marketing strategies that showcase all that the Coyotes bring to Arizona both on and off the ice.