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by Staff Writer / Arizona Coyotes


GLENDALE, ARIZONA -- Phoenix Coyotes General Manager Michael Barnett announced today that the Coyotes have signed defenseman Ed Jovanovski to a five-year contract.  As per club policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Jovanovski has played the past seven seasons with Vancouver, during which he competed in three NHL All-Star Games (2001, 2002, and 2003).  The native of Windsor, Ontario led Canucks' defensemen in scoring for three consecutive seasons from 2000-01 through 2002-03 and was honored with the Walter "Babe" Pratt Award as the Canucks' top defenseman in each of those campaigns. In 2001-02, he ranked second among NHL defensemen with 17 goals and set career highs in both goals and points (48).  Jovanovski ranks fifth in Canucks' history in scoring among defensemen with 234 points with the club.

Jovanovski was named to Team Canada's 2006 Winter Olympics squad in December, but was unable to participate due to a groin injury that caused him to miss a total of 38 NHL games with the Canucks last season.  It would have been his second Olympic Games as Jovanovski won a gold medal with Team Canada in 2002 in Salt Lake City.  His impressive resume of international competition also includes helping Team Canada win the World Cup of Hockey in 2004 and he was a member of Canada's silver medal-winning 1996 World Cup team.  Additionally, he won a gold medal at the 2004 World Championships and a silver medal at the 2005 World Championships with Team Canada.   

"He was the player we wanted," said Coyotes Managing Partner-Head Coach Wayne Gretzky. "This is huge for our franchise."

"I'm  excited about being a part of this organization, and playing for Wayne Gretzky," said Jovanovski.  "I really respect the group of players that they have assembled. The Coyotes are commited to winning right now and I wanted to be a part of it."

Jovanovski, who turned 30-years-old on Monday, posted 8-25-33 and 58 penalty minutes (PIM) in 44 games with Vancouver last season.  He ranked 11th among NHL defensemen in points per game at .75 (minimum 10 games played) in 2005-06.  After playing in just two games in over three months due to his groin injury, the 6-foot-2, 210-pound blueliner returned to the Canucks' lineup for the final five contests of the season, registering 2-3-5 including the game-winning overtime goal in his first game back on Apr. 8 versus Calgary. 

"Leadership, skill, passion, commitment.... all wrapped up in one large package," said Barnett.  "He is one of the impact players in our sport."

Jovanovski will join a Coyotes' blueline in 2005-06 that includes the newly acquired Nick Boynton as well as returning standout defensemen Derek Morris, Keith Ballard, Zbynek Michalek, and Dennis Seidenberg.

Jovanovski was the first overall selection in the 1994 NHL Entry Draft by Florida.  In his first professional season of 1995-96, he recorded 10-11-21 and 137 PIM and was named to the NHL All-Rookie Team.  He was honored as the Rookie of the Year by The Hockey News.  That postseason, Jovanovski helped lead the Panthers to the 1996 Stanley Cup Final where the club fell to Colorado.

On Jan. 17, 1999, in the middle of his fourth season with Florida, Jovanovski was traded to Vancouver along with Dave Gagner, Mike Brown, Kevin Weekes and the Panthers' first round choice (Nathan Smith) in the 2000 Entry Draft for Pavel Bure, Bret Hedican, Brad Ference, and the Canucks'third choice (Robert Fried) in the 2000 Entry Draft.

For his 10-season career, Jovanovski has registered 86-231-317 and 1,085 PIM in 687 games.

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