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Fitzgerald Skates with Coyotes

NFL star Larry Fitzgerald laced up the skates for the first time on Monday

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

GLENDALE - Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald skated with Shane Doan and other Coyotes after the team's practice on Monday at Gila River Arena.

Fitzgerald and Doan are friends, but this was the first time they ever skated together. In fact, Fitzgerald, a Minnesota native, said it was the first time he ever skated in his life.

"I'm a big fan (of hockey)," Fitzgerald said. "I enjoy the speed of the game and just the skill and the art of it. It's like watching poetry in motion. Even watching practice today, to watch the guys handle the puck; their hands are just unbelievable."

Fitzgerald, 33, steadied himself nicely on his rental skates, and by the end of the on-ice session he was passing the puck back and forth with Doan, and Doan was feeding him passes for one-timers into an empty net. 

"I can move my feet or I can handle the puck," Fitzgerald said. "But I can't do both at the same time. I just wanted to say I scored one goal."

Doan was impressed by Fitzgerald's skating.

"He was a lot better than I thought he would be," Doan said. "When people get on skates for the first time they are usually hanging on the boards all the way around. He went right out there. He handled the puck and got a few shots off."  

Doan was asked if he would return the favor and show up at an Arizona Cardinals practice next season. He said it's not likely, but added he would have loved to have played middle linebacker had he taken up football instead of hockey.

"I think middle linebacker would be fun," Doan said. "It would be fun hitting all the people who come through."

Coyotes goalie Louis Domingue, and rookies Jakob Chychrun and Christian Dvorak also shared the ice with Fitzgerald. The athletes chatted at times while members of the media filmed the event.

But it was Doan with whom Fitzgerald bonded most. The two have been pals since doing a local TV commercial together several years ago.

"We're friends because I'm the biggest fan of his," Doan said. "I think he's amazing ... I'm proud to be his friend, not just because of his greatness as an athlete but how he is always giving back to help others."

The feeling is mutual, Fitzgerald said.

"He's such a terrific human being," Fitzgerald said. "Anybody who's ever been around him can attest to the quality of man he is. I really enjoy talking to him and learning from him. He's a true professional. To play this long at any profession at the level he's played at, it takes more than athleticism. He's a very intelligent person. I learned a great deal from him."

Fitzgerald will return to Gila River Arena on Saturday night when the Coyotes host the Pittsburgh Penguins. The first 10,000 fans who attend the game will receive a Fitzgerald bobble head doll.

"When they told me that they were potentially thinking about doing a bobble head night, I was very receptive," Fitzgerald said. "Shane didn't have to call me or try to tug me on it. I wanted to do it ... I'm a big fan. I love my local teams. The Coyotes are always very active in the community, their players are always out doing great things. I wanted to come out and lend some help to try to get some people to come watch the game." 

As for the bobble head, which depicts Fitzgerald wearing a Coyotes sweater and football pants, and him holding a football in one hand and a hockey stick in the other, Fitzgerald said he likes it.

"It came out good," Fitzgerald said with a smile. "I've got a good looking bobble head. It's got my hair, it's got my earrings, it's got my big teeth. I think it's got me sewed up."

Video: Larry Fitzgerald discusses skate with Coyotes

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