In a surprise announcement by the Flyers on Monday, forward Riley Cote has declared his retirement at the age of 28. He will become an assistant coach with the Adirondack Phantoms of the American Hockey League.
Cote, who was set to make $550,000 this season had he not been sent to the AHL, played 156 career games with the Flyers where he racked up 411 penalty minutes.
With the organization since 2004, Cote was extremely well-liked and well-respected by the players and fans for his kind and community-driven demeanor off the ice and his willingness to take on anyone on it.
Not the largest enforcer around at 6’2, 215, Cote will be remembered as a gamer. A characteristic which often ended with him sporting constant black eyes. His most memorable fight moment came in 2008, when he one-punch KO’d Tampa Bay’s Andre Roy.
Riley played 70 games in 2007-08 and 63 in 2008-09 before being left off the active roster for most of 2009-10, in which he played just 15 games.
For Cote, the 2010-11 season was set up to be one of career regression. On the outside looking in at the active or even non-active roster for the upcoming season, the Flyers went out and acquired free agent enforcer Jody Shelley. The move would not push Cote out the door, but would signal the official end of the Cote-era in Philly. Riley was expected to be demoted to the AHL at some point, which likely played a part in his decision to move on.
The move into coaching is somewhat perplexing but could prove to be a smart move for the Phantoms. Although Cote wasn’t a superb player, he communicated well with his teammates and was adored by everyone, a factor that was rumored to have kept Cote on the Flyers roster for all of last season despite no intention of calling him into action.
With the Phantoms, Riley could be used as the bridge between the players and coach Greg Gilbert, who was thought to have lost the team at stretches last season.