In late-December when the NHL and NHLPA pivoted from sending its players to the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, then-Hockey Canada General Manager Doug Armstrong resigned from his position due to the change. Canada will still participate in the Winter Olympics and send non-NHL players to compete and needed a new person to lead the selection process.
On January 14, Team Canada announced that Coyotes Chief Hockey Development Officer Shane Doan would step into that role.
"It was one of those things where Hockey Canada is always prepared for everything," said Doan. "So they had reached out a while before and said, 'would you be interested in doing something along these lines?' And I said 'yes.' So that's kind of how it started."
Once Doan knew he was going to be the decision maker, he and his staff started watching some games in various showcases overseas and made sure that the Hockey Canada group started looking at players to begin putting a team together.
Doan was a member of the Canadian team that competed in the 2006 Olympics, and has been involved with Hockey Canada in multiple capacities since he retired from playing in the NHL. He first cut his teeth as a consultant for the 2019 World Championships and was the Assistant General Manager for Team Canada at the tournament in 2021. He most recently was selected as Hockey Canada's General Manager in the Channel One Cup and Spengler Cup.
Now he will have the opportunity to take on another challenge by assembling the men's hockey team for his country on the largest international stage.
"Any time you do anything with the Olympics it is pretty special," said Doan. "I've always wanted to do that and be a part of it."
Doan was a decorated international athlete during his playing days with the Coyotes. His gold medal portfolio includes the 2003 and 2007 World Championships, along with the 2004 World Cup of Hockey. He and Team Canada also captured silver medals at three separate World Championships.
However, an Olympic medal eluded him. If medaling as a player isn't in the cards, the next best thing is to earn a one as an executive.
"I got chance to play in the 2006 Olympics in Turin, Italy and it was incredible," said Doan. "I didn't get a medal, and I want one."
Doan is relatively early in his hockey executive career, and a significant aspect of the lifestyle is relationship building. A major draw for him to be involved with Hockey Canada is to work with the likes of Scott Salmond, Tom Renney and Scott Smith.
"They're all incredible men," Doan said of the trio. "I've been fortunate to be around a lot of great men, and to be around those guys to walk me through how to do this and help me out, I knew I could learn a lot."
You also never know what certain experiences can be the start of. Last spring when he went to the World Championships, he was introduced to current Coyotes Head Coach André Tourigny and got to see the way his mind works and the way he functions.
"I just think the more experiences you have, the more capable you are to handle all situations," said Doan. "I think it's as important as anything to always try and be learning."
And for the cherry on top, this opportunity for Doan to do all those things takes place in a tournament that's aura is second to none.
"I think that the Olympics are bigger than sports," he said. "The competition is intense, but at the same time it's respectful. Just at the core of it, it's what's best about sports. The fact that the whole world gets behind that, it's something that's so unique and special."
The Olympics' opening ceremony is slated for February 4, 2022 in Beijing, China.