GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — His time on the ice done, John Chayka would turn to the tape, spending up to 25 hours to break down the game just played.
He tracked every player on the ice, every possession, touch of the puck, calculating the impact of every decision or movement on the ice.
The attention to detail, to making himself and his teammates better, led Chayka to co-found his own hockey analytics company. Now it’s helped him become the youngest general manager in NHL history, a meteoric rise even he didn’t see coming.
“It would be silly to suggest it wasn’t a little surprising,” said Chayka, named GM of the Arizona Coyotes on May 5. “It’s like anything in life; good fortune, good timing, a lot of that plays into it. I always just try to better myself every day, learn every day.”
Chayka was like most Canadian kids growing up, playing hockey from a young age on a backyard rink in Jordan Station, Ontario. He had some skill, too, as a high-scoring winger who was good enough to be an Ontario Hockey League draft pick.
Instead of becoming a professional hockey player, Chayka took a different route to the highest level….