The Shane Doan Era of Arizona Coyotes hockey has ended.
There is no sweet talking or dancing around that fact. It wasn’t the right ending, but it ended and the team is going to use this opportunity to the best of its ability by integrating the growing pool of younger talent into the lineup.
Doan, for as long as the Coyotes have existed, has been the face of the franchise. He was a sign of integrity, of strength, and loyalty. With his unsanctimonious departure, by way of the organization’s “corporate firing”, there is a void in that role when it comes to players, leaving those core values up in the air.
Doan was told in his brief meeting with the organization that star defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson would be the next captain, but those are bigger shoes to fill than Ekman-Larsson can handle at the moment.
There will be a void in this organization, and it won’t be filled for some time.
But the Doan ‘firing’ also had an impact on the fans, and thus far, it’s been mostly the wrong one.
Many fans, particularly on social media, have been cutting one another out, becoming increasingly hostile towards people of differing opinions and the “Who's really a ‘true fan’?” nonsense has risen up.
There is simply no room for this. We are not a franchise with a big enough fanbase to start dictating levels of fandom. We are not strong enough financially to start putting people down and encouraging disengagement from a team that is reeling from losing their captain.
Simply put, now is not the time to be divisive with one another over the Arizona Coyotes.
Now is the time to come together over them.
We are all fans and we are all dedicated to this team. Whether you read Five for Howling or not, whether you agree with the Doan decision or not, whether you have problems with certain players’ off-ice histories or not.
It does not matter. We are all fans and we need to all come together.
The concept that some people are lesser fans than others should not matter. Every person supports their team within their own means. I write, you read, we both go to games, we both wear the team crest. So, ultimately, there is no difference.
So, I say again, now is the time to come together. And letting Doan’s departure or the crevices that separate us due to off-ice opinions should not derail us from the fact that we still have our team, and they’re still skating in Arizona. But the future of this organization is at stake, and Shane Doan is not here to put a calming touch on tense ownership and money issues.
It’s our turn, as a fanbase, to step into that role and help grow this game, help strengthen its hold in Arizona and continue to prove to Canadian analysts that we belong.
Now is the time to support youth hockey. If you know kids or schools that want to participate in youth programs, find people to connect them to. If you have old gear, jerseys, or shirts, donate them.
Now is the time get involved and have good-natured and respectful discourse without blocking one another due to offense or difference of opinion. Find common ground in your NHL allegiance and work towards a mutual understanding.
Now is the time to attend team events. Shane Doan won’t be there, but if we all show support and thanks for giving us the last 20 years of his life, then his time with us was not a waste. If we attend events and carry ourselves as a fanbase with honesty, integrity, and class, the same way Shane did, then we will all truly be “true fans”.
Athletes are people, but athletes are also employed and their lives revolve around a business. Fans, in a similar sense, are also a part of that business. In order for that athlete to come here and be that model for us, we have to support the business.
Support your Coyotes and come together in this time of uncertainty, or we may not have the Coyotes to rally around.