CALGARY -- Goaltender Mike Smith was only with the Phoenix Coyotes for the past two seasons, but in that time the constant questions about the team's uncertain future got to him.
"We always talked about not letting it creep into our room," Smith said. "It seemed the last two (training) camps I was at, guys kept saying 'We can't worry about what's happening with ownership.' But this past year it started to weigh on us."
With the ownership saga over after IceArizona finalized the purchase of the Coyotes in early August, Smith said it's one less thing to think about. Now he and his teammates can focus on hockey and a future in Arizona.
"Signing some free agents, that stability will be key, and just being able to play knowing we're going to be there, for the fans and the sponsors to know we're going to be there, will be big," said Smith, who signed a six-year, $34-million contract with the Coyotes earlier this off-season. "It's a great place to play and I'm glad we're staying there. It's a place I can call home for a few years and not have to worry about whether the team's going to be there next year."