NHL season to resume on Sunday with 24 games

Professional hockey resumes play this week after a nearly five-month hold on the regular season. The Phoenix Coyotes’ first home game is this Sunday. Shane Doan, above, is the only Phoenix Coyote to stay with the team since its move to the Valley in 1996.
(Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

After the cancellation of four and a half months of the regular season, the NHL will resume play Saturday following the ratification of a new CBA.

Each team will play a 48-game season, with all 48 games coming against conference and division rivals. That means the Phoenix Coyotes will have 24 home games between Sunday and April 22.

After winning the Pacific Division and falling to the LA Kings in the Western Conference Finals, the Coyotes have a lot of momentum to ride into this year.

While there were some trades in the off season that saw the departure of forward Ray Whitney and several defensemen, there was much good news.

Captain Shane Doan signed a four-year $21.2 million deal in September. He is the only player on the Coyotes’ current roster that has stayed with the team since relocating to the Valley in 1996.

Perhaps an even bigger story came in December, when the Glendale City Council approved a new lease agreement with potential owner Greg Jamison. Jamison had offered to buy the team, which has been owned by the league since 2009.

An owner, the return of the captain and a division title have transformed the Coyotes from a joke to a serious contender. The key for success will be to come flying out of the gates. A short season means there isn’t time to slump.

Training camp opened Monday and the first home game is Sunday at 8 p.m.