Honoree Headshot

Xavier A. Gutierrez

President & Chief Executive Officer
Arizona Coyotes

Location: Glendale, AZ
Founded: 1997
Industry: Sports

Xavier A. Gutierrez was born in Mexico and came to the United States at age 5, not knowing the language or culture. Leaving behind most of his extended family, learning English and trying to find a niche in a new school presented challenges. But Gutierrez, president and CEO of the Arizona Coyotes professional hockey team, credits that experience with setting the table for his eventual professional success.

“I think it ultimately set me up for a lot of success,” he said. “While it was challenging and certainly life-altering, it was a challenge that set the path, and it was the foundation for my future academic and professional success.”

The Coyotes, under the leadership of Gutierrez, established the first Latino Advisory Council to help the organization grow its support and influence in the Hispanic community. Gutierrez created an executive leadership team that is 30% female in an industry that is overwhelmingly male. He created a top executive position to lead broad and intentional community initiatives and grow relationships with communitybased organizations.

In separate partnerships with Univision Arizona, the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona, Gutierrez led the creation of platforms that recognize Hispanic-owned and small businesses. “Xavier Gutierrez has outlined and put into effect a community-first approach to doing business, driven by both a personal passionto do good for others and by an understanding that community impact is a critical factor for success in today’s world,” his team said.

Gutierrez has received many worthy awards and honors, but there are two accomplishments of which he is most proud.

The first is Skatin’ for Leighton, which began as a way to honor Leighton Accardo, a 9-year-old girl who lost her fight with cancer. The Coyotes inducted her into the Ring of Honor for her inspiration, strength and passion for hockey and life. Lyndsey Fry, with the Arizona Coyotes, brought the hockey community together to raise funds for the Leighton Accardo Memorial Fund. The Coyotes raised $200,000 last year in its inaugural year. To keep her memory alive, the Coyotes held the 2nd Annual Skatin’ for Leighton in January.

NHL Bound is the second initiative of which Gutierrez is most proud. The Coyotes launched the first coaching internship program to provide young, diverse hockey coaches with an opportunity to learn and develop by working directly with Coyotes Head Coach André Tourigny and his coaching staff during Development Camp. Duante’ Abercrombie and Nathaniel Brooks served as the first two coaches to participate in the program last September. Other hockey teams are now looking to mirror what the Arizona Coyotes have started.

“My favorite quote is one that stems from my Jesuit education, ‘being a man for others.’ I have expanded that of course to being a man or woman for others,” Gutierrez said. “Working in the sports industry, I realized that I have an incredible opportunity to leverage the sports platform to really make a difference in the community.”

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Honoree Fun fact

Xavier Gutierrez attended the oldest high school in California. Bellarmine College Preparatory is an all-male, Jesuit, private secondary school located in San Jose, California. Founded in 1851, it is the oldest secondary school in California and the second-oldest west of the Mississippi River.

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