GLENDALE – The Coyotes announced the start dates of this season’s training camps for rookies and veterans on Monday.
Newcomer Alex Goligoski, who recently began settling in to life in the Valley of the Sun, can’t wait to report on Sept. 22.
“I’m obviously ecstatic to be here,” Goligoski said Monday after skating informally with a few of his new teammates and other Valley-based hockey players. “It’s been great so far and I’m looking forward to getting the year going.”
|Alex Goligoski |
The Coyotes, of course, signed Goligoski to a five-year contract on June 22, just 10 days before the defenseman was set to become an unrestricted free agent. After the signing, General Manager John Chayka called acquiring Goligoski the top priority of the off-season.
Goligoski brings to the Coyotes a solid all-around game and a player they can rely on to play a lot of minutes and a lot of games. He has notched at least 30 points in each of the past six full seasons, and has missed just two games in the past three seasons.
“I’m here to play hockey the way I know how to play it – moving the puck, playing solid defense and helping the offense,” Goligoski said. “… There’s a lot of parts of my game that can help. They have a great core of guys here, young guys and old guys … I like the team, I like the personnel and the players, and hopefully the fit happens quick.”
Goligoski and his wife, Amanda, have been in the Valley for a few weeks. It’s hot, of course, but they are taking some time before training camp begins to get acquainted with their new home.
“We’ve been exploring a little bit, and we did a little hiking and just kind of driving around the city getting a feel for things,” Goligoski said. “It’s been good.”
The Coyotes acquired the negotiating rights to Goligoski from the Dallas Stars in exchange for a fifth-round pick in this year's NHL Draft on June 16. With those rights, Arizona was the only team that could have signed him before July 1, which they did. Before that, Chayka and Head Coach Dave Tippett met with him and his wife at Gila River Arena and laid out in great detail their plan to return the Coyotes the NHL post-season. They also told Goligoski he would be a key cog to their success.
|Alex Goligoski. Photo by Getty Images. |
“My visit was a huge factor,” Goligoski said. “(It's great) when you get a chance to sit down with a general manager and a coach and they lay out a plan of where they see this team going. For me, I did my homework a little bit, too, with the prospects coming up and what guys are here right now, and everything I heard and everything that I looked into, it seemed like a great fit.”
Goligoski, 30, is quickly becoming friends with Coyotes captain/Valley resident Shane Doan, who will turn 40 before the season starts. Doan is one of the players Goligoski has been skating with informally since Goligoski arrived in town.
“I’m just getting to know him in my short time here, (but) he seems like an awesome guy,” Goligoski said. “He’s a lot of fun out there. He obviously enjoys the game and he’s out there smiling everyday and that’s infectious. It’s good for this group.”
Goligoski has played in 34 Stanley Cup Playoff games in his career, including 19 over the past three seasons. He’s hoping that continues this season and beyond with the Coyotes.
“I think they took a huge step last year and I think we’re here to build on that and I think I can help there,” Goligoski said. “From what I’ve seen so far, and I’ve talked to guys, everyone is really motivated and there’s just kind of a good vibe around the team right now. It’s exciting.”