Here at Five For Howling, we wanted to open up about what Shane Doan means to us, below are a few of the staff’s thoughts and feelings. Please join us in the comments and tell us what Doan means to you.
Paul: As a non-Coyote (well, non-American) whose major exposure as a kid to the NHL was thanks to the EA Sports series, Shane Doan always stood out as having a really good rating on a really bad team (particularly in the early 2000s)...which, of course, meant that he was, for some reason, really easy to trade for whichever team I happened to be playing franchise mode with at the time to play as the third line right-wing on my NHL Dream Team of a powerhouse. Because the trade logic in those earlier games was awful, too, you could usually get him for someone like Rico Fata, Sergei Brylin or, on one memorable occasion, Mathieu Dandenault. No, really.
He always stood out on the rare occasions we actually got to see the Coyotes on this side of the pond, too - as a hard-working agitator of a power forward whose motor only had one setting - seek and destroy.
But for me, he’ll always be that third-line RW on whatever team I was leading to the Stanley Cup in my bedroom in the early to mid-2000’s, picking up points, scoring a few goals and making far too much use of the “big hit” button. It’s a shame we’ll never see his name appear on our NHL computer rosters again.
Farewell, Captain Coyote. I guess I’ll have to find someone else to fill that checking line slot from NHL ‘18 on.
Seth: My family moved to Arizona in the early 90’s, and I was born in ‘92. My dad was a big hockey fan, so when the Coyotes first moved to the Valley for that ‘96 season, we took special ownership of this team. An Air Force family, we were transports; it was easy to latch on to this young team of upstarts. Before we knew it, we were lifelong fans.
This was of course before Shane Doan would become what he was. He could score. In his early years, he could skate. And, he could throw down. And he’d do it all with his cowboy grin, and all the respect and professionalism you’d want from your franchise player. I don’t know if that’s how the other fan bases viewed him. But I can’t say I care too much.
Watching him mature from young, talented forward to veteran Renaissance hockey man was one of the sweetest things a lifelong sports fan can experience. Every team has good players, but only the Coyotes had Shane Doan. And as he retires, only the Coyotes ever will. That feeling of ownership for a so-called “lifer” really is sweet.
It’s still painful to see him walk away from the game. As I look back to his removal, I’m even more disappointed with how it all went down at the end. But that memory is dwarfed by all the hits, goals, fights and other big moments Number 19 gave to me as a fan. I, and the countless other Coyotes fans in the same boat thank him for that. And hope he knows how grateful we are.
Julia: I haven’t been a hockey fan, or a Coyotes fan, for very long. As a fan from the UK, access to the game is limited and rarely mentioned. I only came to the sport at the prompting of some very dedicated friends during the 2012 lock-out. Nevertheless, hockey became the kind of passion that was entirely worth the late nights and logistica nightmare of watching games live. It also became a life line as I went through some of the hardest and most devastating years of my life.
So what does Shane Doan mean to me?
In the first place, Shane was an ambassador for a league, team, and city that I may never have loved otherwise. It was easy to feel invested in the Coyotes with Shane Doan at the helm, to feel connected to a history that I was and still am still uncovering, and to be drawn in by the affection and respect with which the Coyotes community regarded him.
Even more than that, however, Shane Doan represents my enduring interest in hockey. When I almost fell out of love with the NHL, for a variety of reasons, it was Shane Doan’s Coyotes that gave me somewhere turn and made me feel welcome. So thank you, Captain Coyote, for keeping my love of hockey alive, for the friendships I’ve made through your captaincy, and I am sorry I never got to see you play.
Alex: Doaner was the first Coyotes’ player shirt I got. He was one of the first jerseys I got and the first poster I put up on my wall in my apartment. I’ve worn his jersey for the last two first day of college classes and I’m doing it again in my last year. As someone who is as old as the team, and has known Shane Doan to be the face of the franchise for my entire life, seeing him leave is hard.
It means my childhood is over. It means that going to games for student rush tickets are over. It means that I have to start growing up.
So I wish Doaner the best in retirement, I want to thank him for everything he has done for the valley, both inside and outside of hockey, and most importantly, I want to thank The Captain for keeping me entertained and inspired throughout my childhood. From the highs in 2012 to all the other back-breaking lows. All of it.
Thank you, Shane Doan. You helped me grow up, and your retirement is helping me turn the page into adulthood.
Rose: As a relative late-comer to Coyotes fandom one would think that I wouldn’t have as deep a connection with Shane Doan as someone who’s watched him for the last two decades. They would be wrong. As the face of the franchise and one of the most accessible players in all of sports, Doan makes everyone feel like a friend, even if you’ve never met him. I know his interests; his favorite restaurants; the names of his wife, children, and parents; and all about his worst-kept-secret desire to be a cowboy.
His willingness to be open and honest about who he is and how he feels with complete strangers is incredibly remarkable, especially to someone who is as private as I am. Doan and the Coyotes have been synonymous for so long that being a fan of one and not the other seems unimaginable. Learning about the history of everything the franchise has been through and how Doan has been that one constant that fans could count on through it all makes being a Doan fan that much easier. Finding out that during the 2004 lockout Doan helped the equipment and training staff by quietly paying for their medical insurance makes it impossible not to root for him.
I’ll never forget having the chance to be there when he broke Dale Hawerchuck’s goal record vs the new Winnipeg Jets; or when he hit 400 goals in his 1,500th game vs Auston Matthew’s Maple Leafs. I’ll never forget how teary I got in his final game: at warm-ups seeing all the thank you signs, at puck drop with Craig Cunningham and Martin Hanzal, or during his final speech of the season, which now we know was his final speech as an NHL player. Thank you, Doan, for everything most especially for being you.
Carl: When I think of Shane Doan I think of the quote “We don’t know who discovered water, but it wasn’t a fish.”
Just like a fish doesn’t have to think about something so ever present in its life as water while it's there, I felt that way as a Coyotes fan with Shane Doan as captain. He was always there as captain, for the positives like my first game where we played the Kings, to the Finals, and Doan recording his first hat tricks, and for the negatives like the race to the bottom for Conor McDavid, missing out on Matthews, and the numerous times the season ended with me thinking I had seen my last Coyotes game, that the team was gone.
If the game was going down hill, he was the player I looked to try to give the team a spark, and I know that at least one game next season the team is going to be having a rough night and I will instinctively scan the ice for 19 to see what he does to kick start everyone and I’ll have to remind myself that he isn’t there anymore. Instead, I’ll have to look to the players that he has helped shape. Oliver Ekman-Larsson (who has some of the biggest skates to fill in the entire NHL), Max Domi, Christian Dvorak, Tobias Reider, and Jordan Martinook just to name a few all seem to have a bit of Doan in them.
But in the mean time, I think we are like fish who discovered the existence of water because of the absence of water. Now everyone go watch the Doan Mantracker episode.
Brandon: Shane Doan is synonymous with hockey in Arizona. His dedication to this team and the community, through ups and downs, is nothing short of inspirational. Given ample opportunities to leave for greener, more secure pastures, much like his style of play, he doubled-down and toughed it out, choosing to be a beacon of hope and stability when so much was up in the air. Despite constant rumors of relocation and an often less-than-competitive roster, Doan could always be found wearing his heart on his sleeve and leaving everything else out on the ice. I can only imagine how important this was for the rest of the locker room, often a rag-tag group of underdogs, to have a leader of this caliber steadying the ship, turning things around, and genuinely caring about them. I know that as a fan, I cannot thank him enough for his service, his passion, and his integrity, always managing to flash that Shane Doan smile when many of us would have hung our heads and given up. But that’s just not what Shane Doan does, on or off the ice. And because of that, I know that we’ve only begun to see the tremendous ways he’ll contribute to the growth of the game and the coherence of the Phoenix community in the coming years. From the bottom of my heart Shane, thank you, for all you’ve done and will inevitably continue to do.
Check back later, as this will be updated as the staff tell their stories.