GLENDALE -- I'm so honored that I got to take part in our Shane Doan jersey retirement night.
I love Doaner. I think we all do. He's a special person and someone I can always talk to or lean on. I appreciated him when he was around our team every day, and now that he's not here I appreciate him even more. His kindness and warmth, whether he's dealing with family, friends, fans or complete strangers, is very genuine and unique. I've never heard him say a bad word about anybody, and you'll never find anyone who will say something bad about him. We need more Shane Doans in this world.
It was a pleasure for me to play with Shane, and to just be around him for seven years. He was a respected captain, an unselfish teammate and a great hockey player. He probably still is! He always gave 100 percent when he stepped on the ice, and he's the reason why our team is still in Arizona and why hockey is as big as it is here. He worked hard and did all the right things to be a great hockey player and he really deserved to have a night in his honor.
I feel blessed to have been able to start my NHL career here in Arizona with Doaner as my captain. I was very quiet and kind of shy when I first got to the NHL, but right away Shane made me feel like I was part of the team, even if I didn't talk very much. He often went out of his way to bring me into the group and help me feel important and welcomed. I'll never forget that. He was also there for me after my mother passed away a few years ago and helped me get through that very difficult time. I'll never forget that either.
I remember when I was drafted, I didn't know much about the Coyotes, but I knew the Coyotes were Shane Doan's team. And I only had to be around for a few weeks to understand why. Doaner built the culture here with his passionate love for the game and his respect for the people associated with our team and the fans.
Hockey isn't as popular as football or baseball or basketball in this state, but Shane is very popular with the fans here, and that says a lot about the type of person that he is. The fans love Shane and he loves them back. He's always willing to chat with fans and ask them about them instead of talking just about him. I learned a lot watching him interact with the fans and now I try to do the same. It's the right thing to do, and I thank Shane for teaching me that lesson.
I miss seeing Doaner every day. So does everyone else around our team who was here when he was here. That's why I'm thrilled our team has retired his number. It will be cool to look up and see a banner with his name and the number 19 on it inside our rink during a home game or even a practice. I'm sure it will make me smile each time I see it.