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Coyotes Eager to Celebrate Doan on Sunday

by Dave Vest @davest4yotes / Coyotes Sr. Director of News Content

McConnell And Nash Talk Doan

McConnell And Nash Discuss Doan's Career

Broadcasters Matt McConnell and Tyson Nash share personal thoughts on the Shane Doan jersey retirement ceremony scheduled for Feb. 24

  • 03:34 •

GLENDALE - The Coyotes are in the midst of making a push for the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but the players are eager to pause for a few hours this weekend so they can witness the team's celebration of Shane Doan's career.

"It's well deserved, for sure," center Brad Richardson said of the pre-game ceremony set for Sunday, when the Coyotes will retire Doan's No. 19 sweater before hosting the Winnipeg Jets at Gila River Arena. "Shane did a lot for this team and a lot to keep this team in Arizona, and also for the League in general. He's been a great kind of spokesperson for everyone, and anyone associated with 'Doaner' knows what kind of person he is, so it's going to be nice to see him get the proper treatment he deserves." 

Video: McConnell And Nash Discuss Doan's Career

Oliver Ekman-Larsson said he is honored to be giving a speech as part of the ceremony.

"Shane means the world to me," Ekman-Larsson said. "He was the guy who first took care of me when I got over here and he was always there, if it was a fun time or if I went through a hard time. I really appreciate that. That's just the kind of guy he is. He cares so much about his teammates, his family and everybody around him. That makes him great and that's why everybody loves him."

Christian Fischer played seven games for the Coyotes as a rookie in 2016-17, Doan's final season. He, like OEL and Richardson, can't wait to see Doan honored for his contributions to the team and for his character.

"This is going to be a great night for Shane," Fischer said. "He's done so much for this team and the NHL. It's going to be exciting. I got to play with him for a little bit, and he was so good at helping out young guys and making them feel so accepted on the team right away. Stuff like that goes such a long way. As a player, and as a person, that's exactly who you want to be like … We kind of play a similar game and if I can do half of what Shane has done that's probably going to be a good career."

Christian Dvorak formed a bond with Doan during the former's freshman season in 2016-17.  

"It was pretty special for me to be able to play with a guy like that," Dvorak said. "My rookie year, I really wanted to make the team because you weren't sure how much longer Shane was going to keep playing. So, I was excited to make the team and play with him and be his linemate for most of the year. He took me under his wing, and that was very nice of him. I learned so much from him, on the ice and off the ice. He taught me the importance of preparing, and hard work and consistency. That's what I admired most about him. He was always so consistent and he never really had an off night. It was so impressive to see that, and that's why I'm very excited for this ceremony. Shane is so deserving of this recognition. He's obviously the best Coyote ever, and it's going to be pretty cool to see his jersey retired."

Coyotes TV analyst Tyson Nash knows Doan better than most. The two were linemates in junior hockey and teammates with the Coyotes for two seasons. They were even NHL linemates - along with Daymond Langkow - for one game. Nash said he remembers notching two points in that game, but who's counting?

"I've known Shane since I was 10 years old," Nash said. "He hasn't changed one bit from the little toothless kid I met back then on his ranch. He's the same kid here today. I love him and I love the passion he has for his family and for the game of hockey. I'm extremely excited about this ceremony. This honor is well earned. 'Doaner' has lived and breathed and battled and carried the weight of the world for this organization for so many years. It'll be so nice to see his jersey going up to the rafters."

Nash, who started his NHL career with the St. Louis Blues before coming to the Coyotes in 2003-04, not only knows what it's like to play with Doan on NHL ice, but what it's like to play against him. 

"He was a guy that you had to be aware of and, quite frankly, a guy that you feared," Nash said. "As nice as he is, once the puck dropped he'd flip the switch and become a guy who wanted to check you into the 10th row. I never let that smile on his face fool me. It wasn't a sign of weakness on the ice. He was the ultimate competitor and the ultimate battler."

Richardson, who played with the Los Angeles Kings against the Coyotes in the 2012 Western Conference finals, agreed.

"He was fierce," Richardson said. "He was a guy that you kind of hated to play against because he was always so physical and just a man's man. He was very tough to play against. Whether I was playing with him or against him, I had a ton of respect for the way he played and the way he carried himself."

Keith Yandle enjoyed playing with Doan, and their big-brother/little brother relationship during his stint with the Coyotes from 2006-15. He called Doan an "inspirational leader."

"He taught me things, on and off the ice, that I'm not sure I would have learned if it wasn't for him," Yandle said. "I'll never forget that. He's probably the main reason why I'm still playing in the NHL today."

Auston Matthews, who grew up in Scottsdale, looked up to Doan as he honed his exceptional hockey skills in the Valley rinks.

"He had a huge impact on me," Matthews told FOX Sports Arizona. "He was kind of my idol growing up, him and Danny Briere. They were two guys that I loved to watch. Danny ended up going off to other teams, but 'Doaner' was the one constant in Phoenix and the face of the franchise, and somebody I looked up to. He brought it every single night." 

Matthews, of course, will be in Toronto with the Maple Leafs on Sunday, but he'll likely take a peak at the Doan ceremony on TV or social media. 

"I think it's extremely fitting," Matthews said of the jersey retirement. "You ask any Coyotes fan, or a kid growing up there around my age, Shane was the guy that you looked up to, not only on the ice, but off the ice, too. He's just an amazing human being and he deserves everything that he's gotten in his career and all the accolades."

Coyotes Head Coach Rick Tocchet, like most coaches, isn't a big fan of pre-game hoopla. But in this case, he's looking forward to seeing his one-time teammate and friend be honored, and he's encouraging the Coyotes players to embrace the moment and to pay close attention.

"It will be good for our guys to see this ceremony," Tocchet said. "Obviously, Shane was a great hockey player. We all know what he did on the ice, but for me this is about his character and his selflessness to the community. There's been lots and lots of changes to this organization over the years, but 'Doaner' has been the one solid thing this organization has had. I tell our players all the time, 'You've got to stick with it through the highs and lows.' And when you talk about Shane Doan, he's always stuck with it. He's never changed who he is because of good times or bad times. He's stayed the same person. That's hard to do. Good for him."

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