Doan helped sta­bi­lize trou­bled Coy­otes

Vet­eran for­ward who started his ca­reer in Win­nipeg and led Ari­zona through years of un­cer­tainty re­tires

Winnipeg Free Press - - SPORTS - JONAS SIEGEL

O mat­ter how un­cer­tain the fu­ture seemed in Phoenix, Shane Doan re­mained com­mit­ted to the Coy­otes.

That’s just the kind of guy he is, ac­cord­ing to the club’s for­mer gen­eral man­ager.

“When you think of loyal, tough, strong, leader, char­ac­ter, team­mate, all those words come to mind when you think of Shane,” Don Maloney said.

“I think it’s such a credit to who he is as a per­son that through thick and thin, through some very dif­fi­cult times he stood up and said, ‘I’m not go­ing any­where. This works here. This is a great fran­chise. This is a great place to live. We can make it work here.’”

Doan re­tired from the NHL on Wed­nes­day morn­ing, less than three months after the Coy­otes de­cided not to of­fer the 40-year-old a con­tract for the 2017-18 season.

The Al­berta na­tive, who played his en­tire 21-season ca­reer with the Ari­zona Coy­otes or­ga­ni­za­tion, is the fran­chise leader in games played, goals, as­sists, points, power-play goals

Nand game-win­ning mark­ers. He was drafted sev­enth over­all by the Win­nipeg Jets in 1995, play­ing one season in the Man­i­toba cap­i­tal be­fore the team shuf­fled off to the desert.

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 after tak­ing over from Teppo Num­mi­nen in 2003.

Maloney said he came to view Doan as a part­ner in man­ag­ing the fran­chise through tur­bu­lent times, which in­cluded bank­ruptcy in 2009. Doan of­fered a sooth­ing voice in the dress­ing room for team­mates and a re­cruit­ing hand to wary free agents. Above all, he chose to stay with the Coy­otes through un­cer­tainty, often for less money.

“His first thought in any­thing that was done — off the ice, on the ice — is how does it af­fect this team, how does it af­fect my team­mates and then well down the line, how does it af­fect me? And I think that’s what you want in a cap­tain, to be con­stantly think­ing of team and how to make things bet­ter,” said Maloney, who was the team’s GM from 2007 to 2016 and is now a mem­ber of the Calgary Flames’ front of­fice.

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 that April 8, 2017 would be his last NHL game.

“I felt an in­de­scrib­able wave of emo­tion to have the sup­port that I’ve had over the years from the fans through­out all of 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, Alta., Doan ul­ti­mately grew up in sunny Ari­zona, build­ing a fam­ily there. He signed a five-year deal with the club in 2007 and another four-year pact after that.

“If Shane all of a sud­den jumped for greener pas­tures five, six, seven, eight years ago, I’m not quite sure this fran­chise would still be here as we sit here to­day,” said Maloney, who be­lieves Doan could thrive in a man­age­rial role down the line.

It’s still un­cer­tain where the Coy­otes will play long-term, with NHL com­mis­sioner Gary Bettman stat­ing in May the club could not suc­ceed with the cur­rent arena in Glen­dale.

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.


For­mer Ari­zona Coy­otes for­ward Shane Doan spent his en­tire 21-year NHL ca­reer with the fran­chise, which in­cluded his first year in Win­nipeg. Doan an­nounced his re­tire­ment from the NHL in a let­ter to fans in a Phoenix news­pa­per.

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