An Arizona hockey legend has played his last game in the NHL. Today, Shane Doan ended a 21-year career with reflection and appreciation. A true professional.
The Coyote captain hangs up his skates
It all began in Winnipeg October 7, 1995 as Shane Doan stepped out onto the ice in Winnipeg for his first NHL games against the Dallas Stars. The excitement he felt then did not dissipate from his last game against the Minnesota Wild on April 8, 2017.
The two-time NHL All-Star knew it was a privilege to have lasted in the league for 21 years, while being only the ninth NHL player in history to have played his entire career with one organization.
Quite an accomplishment. He struggled with the decision as “Doaner” loves to play hockey in the NHL. Who wouldn’t?
The records he set while a member of the Jets/Coyotes franchise are without scrutiny. Doan participated in 1,540 regular-season games, with 402 goals, 570 assists, 972 points, 69 game-winners and 128 power play goals;all Coyotes’ franchise records.
Will he be missed? Undoubtedly. Yet, most professional athletes know when it’s time to give it up. In a touching letter to his beloved fans, he detailed the difficulty to pull the trigger and actually realize he just wasn’t contributing as much as the team expected.
Then he was discarded…
His decision kept fans and teammates uncertain as to whether the 40-year-old would continue playing elsewhere, as speculated after his departure. He was told in June in a less than upright manner that his services were no longer needed in a breakfast meeting at a Scottsdale restaurant with general manager John Chayka.
Yet, Doan always the optimist looked at the event in a completely different light.
“I was obviously hurt and upset by the way it happened,” Doan said. “But at the same time, everything happens for a reason.”
The 2006 Olympian had a feeling after the end of last season that his six goals, 27 points in 74 games weren’t going to earn him a new contract.
“Everybody wants to feel wanted, and there’s an element through management and the way I was being used that I recognized that I wasn’t being wanted and that happens,” said Doan, who had six goals and 27 points in 74 games. “It happens to everybody that plays the game. You understand it’s a game of, ‘What have you done for me lately?’ and I wasn’t doing enough.”
Important dates in Doan’s career
- July 8, 1995: Drafted by the Winnipeg Jets, first round, No. 7 overall.
- Oct. 7, 1995: Made his NHL debut, scoring his first career points (two assists).
- Nov. 14, 1995: Scored his first NHL goal against the Chicago Blackhawks.
- Sept. 10, 2003: Named the 15th captain in Jets/Coyotes franchise history.
- Feb. 8, 2004: Appeared in his first NHL All-Star Game.
- Dec. 17, 2009: Skated in his 1,000th regular-season game.
- Jan. 7, 2012: Registered his first career hat trick.
- Dec. 31, 2015: Surpassed the franchise record for goals.
- Dec. 8, 2016: Set the franchise record for assists, becoming just the fifth NHL player to hold each of these franchise records: games played, goals, assists, points, game-winners and power-play goal.
- Dec. 23, 2016: Scored his 400th career goal in his 1,500th game.
It was rumored that the Coyotes organization had offered him a job in the front office. That didn’t materialize, and perhaps down the road after wounds are healed, and the team needs someone to promote NHL hockey here in the valley he may consider it.
Right now, he intends to play some golf, help coach his son’s youth hockey team and kick back. He would be nothing short of amazing as an ambassador for the team, or for the sport if given the opportunity.
Like he said, “everything happens for a reason.” This could be his calling.
It’s unknown if the 40-year-old would like to get into broadcasting for the team, scouting or even coaching. He’s going to need to decide what to do with all that idle time he’ll have. He still has his horses and his family to keep him occupied.
There’s no doubt that his #19 jersey will hang from whatever arena the Coyotes are playing in now and in the future. The fact that there was an arena here, or an NHL team had a lot to do with Shane Doan being Shane Doan.
He left his heart and soul on the ice every night. The fact that he will not be out there skating in a little over a month has not quite sunk in yet to all his loyal, loving fans.
It’s time for Shane to ride off into the Arizona sunset, not to be forgotten but to be remembered as one of, if not the greatest Coyotes’ player EVER.
Shane Doan IS Arizona Coyotes’ hockey!
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