THE ONE-TEAM MAN.

S2

The Hamilton Spectator - - SPORTS - JONAS SIEGEL

While the Coy­otes fran­chise epit­o­mized volatil­ity for years, Shane Doan was the one pil­lar of sta­bil­ity over more than two decades. Doan an­nounced his re­tire­ment Wed­nes­day morn­ing, less than three months af­ter the NHL club de­cided not to of­fer the 40-yearold a con­tract for the 2017-18 sea­son. The Al­berta na­tive, who played his en­tire 21-sea­son ca­reer with the Arizona Coy­otes, is the fran­chise leader in games played, goals, as­sists, points, power-play goals and game-win­ning mark­ers. He was drafted sev­enth over­all by the Win­nipeg Jets in 1995 with the club shuf­fling off to the desert one year later. In­sta­bil­ity has plagued the fran­chise with own­er­ship and re­lo­ca­tion trou­bles lin­ger­ing in the back­ground. But the Coy­otes could al­ways count on Doan, who was among the long­est-serv­ing cap­tains in NHL his­tory, tak­ing over from Teppo Num­mi­nen in 2003. A two-time all star, Doan scored at least 20 goals in 13 sea­sons and topped 50 points 11 times, with a ca­reer-high of 78 points in the 2007-08 sea­son. He won the King Clancy Me­mo­rial tro­phy for lead­er­ship on and off the ice in 2010 and the Mark Messier Lead­er­ship award in 2012. Doan an­nounced his de­ci­sion to re­tire in an Arizona news­pa­per. He re­called the ex­cite­ment of his first NHL game on Oct. 7, 1995 — he had two as­sists — and said he “prob­a­bly” knew last April 8 would be his last NHL game. “I felt an in­de­scrib­able wave of emo­tion to have the sup­port I’ve had over the years from fans through­out all the un­cer­tainty,” Doan wrote in the Arizona Repub­lic. “You have al­ways de­fended me and sup­ported me. Play­ing in front of you has hon­estly been one of the great­est ex­pe­ri­ences of my life.” Doan, who en­tered the league as a teenager, de­scribed re­tire­ment as “one of the hard­est de­ci­sions I’ve ever had to make.” Hail­ing from the tiny town of Halkirk, Doan grew up in sunny Arizona, build­ing a fam­ily there and stick­ing with the Coy­otes even as their vi­a­bil­ity to stay put was threat­ened. He signed a five-year deal with the club in 2007 and an­other four-year pact af­ter that. “I’ve had some in­ter­est from other teams over the years, but there’s al­ways been too much pulling me back to Phoenix,” Doan wrote in a Play­ers Tri­bune ar­ti­cle in De­cem­ber 2015. “I be­lieve in this or­ga­ni­za­tion and I have so much re­spect for the fans who have stuck with us all of this time. “In Phoenix, there have been long stretches when it’s been bad — re­ally bad. But the fans still showed up. We’d be sur­rounded by ru­mours that we were go­ing to re­lo­cate, and I’d look up in the stands and see fa­mil­iar faces wear­ing my jersey and pound­ing on the glass. Who wouldn’t skate through a brick wall for them?” Doan got clos­est to win­ning a Stan­ley Cup in 2012 when the Coy­otes lost the Western Con­fer­ence fi­nal to the Los An­ge­les Kings. Doan never won a ma­jor NHL award and prob­a­bly falls short of Hall of Fame con­sid­er­a­tion, but he brought a con­sis­tently rugged brand to hockey in Arizona with renowned lead­er­ship and a knack for the net. He even man­aged to pot 28 goals at age 39, be­fore drop­ping off to just six goals in 74 games in what stands as his fi­nal NHL sea­son. Jarome Iginla was the only player to amass more goals or points from the 1995 draft class. The Coy­otes ad­mit­tedly bun­gled his exit from the fran­chise. Af­ter sign­ing him to a one-year deal last sum­mer, the club re­leased a state­ment on June 19 not­ing the need to “move on” with a younger group. A few weeks later the team’s owner, An­drew Bar­roway, said he re­gret­ted not in­form­ing Doan of the de­ci­sion him­self, while also re­it­er­at­ing the choice as the “right hockey de­ci­sion.” Though no NHL job sur­faced for Doan this sum­mer as an un­re­stricted free agent, his ser­vices were be­ing con­sid­ered for the 2018 Cana­dian Olympic team — which won’t have NHL play­ers for the first time since 1994. Team Canada gen­eral manager Sean Burke said he reached out to Doan’s rep­re­sen­ta­tive ear­lier this month. Doan rep­re­sented Canada at the 2006 Olympics, also suit­ing up for six world cham­pi­onships as well as the World Cup of Hockey in 2004.

ROSS D. FRANKLIN, THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Arizona Coy­otes Shane Doan has an­nounced his re­tire­ment in a let­ter to fans in Phoenix.

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