Photo Credit Norm Hall
While there was a time, not so long ago, when professional athletes were committed to one club for their entire career; those days are as far gone as Northland Sticks, maskless goaltenders and blank dasher boards. So when the Phoenix Coyotes reached a deal on a five-year contract extension with captain Shane Doan earlier this week, it marked not only the continuation of a decade-long partnership, but also a mutual commitment that is seldom seen in today's NHL.
It would be easy to say that Doan's importance to the franchise lies within his on-ice performance. But in reality, on-ice performance is just a fraction of what makes Doan the face of the Coyotes franchise.
Originally drafted by the Winnipeg Jets with the 7th overall selection in the 1995 NHL Entry Draft, Doan accompanied the organization during its relocation to Arizona, and in the process solidified his place in the community.
"My kids have all been born here, my family is incredibly happy to live here and it's our home now and we really didn't want to leave home," said Doan. "I recognize how few players have been given that chance to be with one team for so long," said Doan. "It's so rare (and) it really went into my thinking (process)."
"Shane appreciates being in Phoenix, he appreciates what we're trying to build here and we appreciate Shane," said Coyotes Chief Executive Officer Jeff Shumway. "We recognize that he is an elite player (and) we are thrilled to have him in the (Coyotes) family, we're thrilled to have him for the next five years, we appreciate what he brings to this team...and we're looking forward to a great five years."
The re-signing of Doan also serves as a mission statement to every other team in the NHL that the Coyotes are committed to winning and establishing themselves as a perennial Stanley Cup contender.
"I have confidence in the group of people that are here, that we can win, we will win and until we do, I feel like my job isn't finished here and I wanted to make sure we win here," said Doan.
Hockey fans across the world have often wondered, "If they were going to start a team, which player would they want to build that team around?" Ask 10 different people that question and you could receive a number of answers. Skill, production, leadership and commitment are just some of the qualities that go into making such an important choice. It was those exact qualities that led the Winnipeg Jets to select Shane Doan 12 years ago; and it is those same qualities that guided Phoenix in their decision to keep him now. And with Doan leading the Coyotes for the next five seasons, the team's future has never looked better.