GLENDALE – Shane Doan and Jarome Iginla have combined to play 2,762 regular-season NHL games since 1995-96. On Thursday night, the two seasoned vets are expected to each add another game to that total when the Coyotes and Colorado Avalanche square off at Gila River Arena.
|Photo by Norm Hall. |
"They’re cut from the same cloth, that’s for sure," said Coyotes TV Analyst Tyson Nash, who was a junior hockey teammate of Doan and Iginla when all three played for the Kamloops Blazers in the early 1990s. "They’re identical in the way in which they handle themselves - as players, as team captains and in the community. They don’t realize they’re superstars in this League. They will sit there and talk with fans they just met for hours and hours. That’s just the way they are. It’s great."
Nash said he remembers a healthy competition between himself, Doan and Iginla during their time together in Kamloops. He said they rarely, if ever, played on the same line so the race was on to see who could put up more points. And Nash said even after 20-plus years, he still can sense a rivalry between Doan and Iginla when they battle on NHL ice.
"I’m sure they’re secretly still competing against each other," Nash said. "No doubt about it."
After practice on Wednesday, Doan said Nash is correct.
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"There’s an element of competitiveness in everybody, and with your friends there’s always bragging rights," Doan said. "(Iginla) is arguably one of the best, if not the best, power forward in our generation so whenever you get a chance to compete against him you always take it personally because he’s had so much success."
The Kamloops Blazers won back-to-back Memorial Cups in 1994 and 1995. Shortly after the latter title, Doan and Iginla were selected in the first round of the 1995 NHL Entry Draft; Doan was picked seventh overall, Iginla was picked 11th.
Since then they’ve combined to notch nearly 950 goals and more than 2,100 points. In addition, Doan and Iginla are among several co-owners of the Blazers and are still good friends.
"Those are guys who were an important part of your life at a pretty influential time and you always remain very close friends," Doan said of Iginla, Nash and other Kamloops teammates. "You might not speak very often, you might not be together very often, but when you’re together (the friendship) is immediate."
He added, "Jarome and I were close friends when we played together and good friends still, and we thoroughly enjoy each other and have a good time whenever we get together."
Per The Elias Sports Bureau, Doan and Iginla have played against each other 58 times in their NHL careers. In those games, Doan's teams have posted a 29-24-5 record; Iginla and his teams are 26-23-9. On an individual level, Doan has notched 46 points (16 goals, 30 assists) in those 58 games, and Iginla has notched 63 points (37 goals, 26 assists).