GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Shane Doan holds numerous franchise records, was the epitome of what a captain should be and led the Arizona Coyotes on their deepest playoff run.
Those accomplishments only tell part of the story of how he became one of the most revered athletes in Arizona history.
Humble to a fault. Deeply connected to the community. Loyal. Generous with his time, whether it was for a cause, casually chatting with a fan or media inquiries following a difficult loss. Always the hardest-working player on the team.
Perhaps more than any of it, a good person.
”I don’t know a better human being on this planet. I really don’t,” said Tyson Nash, Doan’s former teammate and current Coyotes TV analyst. ”He is everything that you want to be and more. I want my kid to be like him. I want to be like him.”
The Coyotes will celebrate Doan’s career by retiring his No. 19 jersey during a pregame ceremony before Sunday’s game against Winnipeg.
The guest list will include NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, multiple former Coyotes teammates, friends and family. The Coyotes and the Jets will wear ”Doan No. 19” on the warmup jerseys prior to the game and fans will receive a Doan bobblehead.
”That’s the part that I’m really excited about: to get to share it with the fans here in Arizona and to have friends and family around for it,” Doan said. ”It’s something that you never, ever dream of and to get to experience it is pretty amazing.”
From Halkirk, Alberta, Doan was the seventh overall pick of the 1995 NHL draft by the Winnipeg Jets and came with the franchise when moved to the desert to become the Phoenix Coyotes.
Doan guided the Coyotes through four years of uncertainty while the franchise was operated by the NHL and led them to the 2012 Western Conference Finals. He earned the King Clancy Memorial Trophy for leadership on and off the ice in 2010, and took home the Mark Messier Leadership Award in 2012.
Doan retired in 2017 as Arizona’s career leader in games (1,540), goals (402), assists (570), points (972), game-winning goals (69) and power-play goals (128).
He spent his entire 21-year career with the organization, spurning chances for a better chances to win the Stanley Cup out of loyalty for the NHL team that drafted him.
”There’s no player in our team history that meant more to this franchise than Shane, and no player our franchise history that has meant more to this community than Shane,” Coyotes president and CEO Ahron Cohen said. ”So it was a pretty easy decision.”
At 6-foot-1, 223 pounds, Doan played with a combination of power and finesse. He also was driven to wring the most from his talent, always the last person off the ice after practice, huffing and puffing while dripping sweat after getting in a few extra laps or tipped shots.
”This is a guy who spent 21 years in the NHL and his last year he was still out there,” Nash said. ”He was always working on the nuances of his game to get better. It was remarkable, but that’s what good pros do, they try to get better every day.”
Nash has known Doan since he was nine when he visited the Doan family’s Christian summer camp for kids at their ranch. The pair met up again eight years later as teammates in the Western Hockey League and were Coyotes together from 2003-06.
Through the years of their friendship, Nash has seen first-hand Doan’s generosity, from taking the extra time to talk with fans after a game or give back to the community.
He’s also seen the competitive side of Doan that raged anytime anything was on the line.
Playing hockey, cards on the team plane, golf, wrestling in the basement, Doan wanted to win no matter what, his eyes widening into a maniacal look that belied his easygoing nature away from competition.
”He’d take out his grandma to win at something,” Nash said. ”The guy just never wanted to lose and if you beat him at something, you better be ready to go 10 rounds or whatever because he was going to get redemption.
The Coyotes have a ring of honor that includes Keith Tkachuk, Jeremy Roenick and Teppo Numminen of the Coyotes, and Bobby Hull, Thomas Steen and Dale Hawerchuk of the original Jets.
Doan, fittingly, will be the first player to have his number retired by the franchise.
”Unexpected, maybe a little uncomfortable,” Doan said. ”At the same time, so excited to have so many people coming, people that are close to me. It’s going to be so much fun.”