This summer, NBC Sports’ social media team is conducting the #NHLGreatest initiative, designed for fans to choose the best player in each franchise’s history. Balloting was conducted through three platforms — Facebook, Twitter and Instagram — with thousands of votes being cast. The results of this initiative will be released throughout the month of August, in conjunction with PHT’s Team of the Day series.
1. Shane Doan — 626
2. Jeremy Roenick — 189
3. Keith Tkachuk — 139
It’s not hard to see where the fans were coming from on this one. Shane Doan has earned the respect of Coyotes fans for his leadership since becoming the team captain in 2003 and his years of solid play, but its his loyalty that stands out the most.
Doan has spent his entire career as a member of the Jets/Coyotes franchise and while it’s rare for a player to stick with one club, that only scratches the surface of what makes his decision special. While leading the Coyotes on the ice, the franchise went through a prolonged period of uncertainty because the team didn’t have an owner and there was constant speculation about whether or not the Coyotes would relocate.
With that situation as the backdrop, Doan became a free agent in the summer of 2012. While he did test the market, he ultimately took a chance on the Coyotes by signing a four-year, $21.2 million contract. Although the Coyotes regressed on the ice in 2012-13, Doan insisted that he didn’t regret his decision.
“The unique situation with Shane, there’s not many players in sports right now that would take that leap of faith right now,” head coach Dave Tippett said in May 2013.
Doan’s trust was rewarded as the Coyotes’ ownership situation has finally been resolved. He will be 38 in October and has two seasons left on his contract, but he still has some hockey left in him.