SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The past two years, Connor Ingram has stopped in Utah on his way from Saskatchewan to Arizona for the start of the NHL season. Next season, the goalie can stop right there.

The NHL Board of Governors voted Thursday to establish an NHL team in Utah, and the team purchased the contracts of the Arizona Coyotes executives, coaches and players. The Arizona franchise became inactive. Owner Alex Meruelo can reactivate it if he builds a suitable arena within five years.

Utah will play at Delta Center in Salt Lake City.

“I think we’re all excited to go,” Ingram said. “I mean, it’s a place that …”

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He paused for a moment.

“I’m not going to lie to you,” he continued. “I really like Salt Lake City. We stop every year on the drive in. I had an Airbnb booked in Sundance for the drive home. I’m excited for Salt Lake City. I will miss Arizona, but I think if you’re going to move, it’s a good place to go.”

The players had mixed emotions as they met at the Coyotes practice facility Thursday, hours after defeating the Edmonton Oilers 5-2 at Mullett Arena on Wednesday in the season finale.

Sadness. Uncertainty. Excitement.

Even though this isn’t technically a relocation, it feels like it.

“I can’t speak for everyone, but most of us are just kind of soaking this in,” Ingram said. “It’s a different thing that’s going on here. I mean, how many guys can say they moved with an NHL franchise? It’s uncharted waters for a lot of us, and I think we’re just trying to figure it out as we go.”

Ingram pointed out everyone has individual circumstances.

Arizona is special to him. He got engaged here and established himself as an NHL player here. His parents and in-laws live here now, and he has no doubt he will come back here in the future.

Utah is foreign to him, despite his stopovers. He doesn’t know where to live, where the practice facility will be, how it’s going to work.

At the same time, the 27-year-old isn’t as tied down as others are, and he’s used to bouncing around, having played for multiple teams in multiple leagues in his career. He isn’t a staff member, either.

Utah is coming to the National Hockey League

“For guys like me, it’s exciting -- not to leave Arizona, but just to go somewhere new and see it,” he said. “It’s easy. I don’t own a house here. I don’t have children. Guys like me, I’m used to it.

“But it’s the people with families, the guys changing schools for kids, the staff that need to buy houses and do all those things. This isn’t about a hockey team moving. This is people’s lives we’re uprooting here, and I think people need to remember that.

“There’s a lot that goes on, and a lot of these people that don’t get the credit they deserve are going to have to do a lot to make this work. I think those people deserve some recognition. It’s easy for guys like me, but there’s people that it’s harder on, no doubt about it.”

You never know how things will turn out.

Shane Doan grew up in Halkirk, Alberta, and played junior hockey in Kamloops, British Columbia. When he was 19, he was a rookie with the original Winnipeg Jets.

Then they moved to a new NHL market, and so did he.

The forward spent the next 18 seasons with the team -- known as the Phoenix Coyotes from 1996-2014 and the Arizona Coyotes afterward -- building a career and a life. He ended up retiring as the franchise’s all-time leader in games played (1,540), goals (402), assists (570) and points (972).

Josh Doan, his son, grew up in Arizona. The 22-year-old came up from Tuscon of the American Hockey League and played 11 games for the Coyotes this season, putting up nine points (five goals, four assists) and realizing a dream.

“To wear the Coyotes logo and play a real game with that jersey is something that I’ll take with me forever and kind of build off of,” he said. “But it’s a long way to go now with everything and a long offseason.”

Now the executives, coaches and players are moving to a new NHL market, and so will he if he makes the NHL roster.

Maybe he can build a career and a life in Utah at least a little like his dad did in Arizona.

“I’m looking forward to whatever kind of comes my way and the start,” he said. “Obviously, they want to do something big there, and there’s a plan already set up, and the people there are excited.

“So, if we weren’t looking at it positive, then it’s going to be a long offseason, a long year. I’ve talked to my dad about that and how his life was flipped upside down, and Arizona ended up being place he calls home and still does. There’s obviously a side of it where you have to kind of take that look at it.”

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