GLENDALE – Shane Doan looked a little tired on Friday at the press conference announcing his new four-year contract with the Coyotes. He also looked extremely relieved that the arduous process of deciding where to play the next big chunk of his career was over.
Doan was an unrestricted free agent for two months and two weeks. On Friday, he “returned” to the only NHL team he’s ever played for and was given his jersey back during a playful photo opportunity with Coyotes General Manager Don Maloney.
It was a fun moment but hey, did he ever really leave?
|Photo by Norm Hall. |
“This is the only organization I’ve been with,” Doan said. “This is where I’ve been, this is where I’ve always wanted to be.”
Doan listened to offers from several other NHL teams this summer but, true to character, he was always up front with them that his first choice was re-signing with the Coyotes. What he was seeking before re-signing with Phoenix was assurances from potential team owner Greg Jamison that his effort to purchase the franchise would eventually succeed. On Friday, Doan said he’d heard enough good things from Jamison to keep him in Arizona.
"In talking with Mr. Jamison, you get confidence in the fact that he’s going to get it done,” Doan said. “Everyone believes it’s going to get done.”
Maloney was thrilled to re-sign Doan, 35, and suggested that this wasn’t the last contract Doan would sign with the team.
“This wasn't an ordinary negotiation,” Maloney said. “We look at Shane as a partner in helping us build a winner in Phoenix, so it was very important to us. Obviously, his value and his leadership and his commitment to this franchise is without equal, so we’re thrilled to have him… he's still a young pup as far as I'm concerned."
Coyotes Head Coach Dave Tippett said one of the first things he did upon hearing that Doan had re-signed was to change the color of Doan’s name from undecided red to locked and loaded black as it appeared on his depth chart.
|Photo by Norm Hall. |
"You look at the loyalty Shane has shown to this organization, it trickles down,” Tippett said. “…The loyalty and commitment he shows makes us a better organization.”
Doan said his family’s desire to stay in Arizona was a key factor in his decision to re-sign. He also wants to finish what the Coyotes started last season when they won the first Pacific Division title in franchise history and reached the Western Conference Final.
"I dragged this thing on as long as I possibly could,” Doan said with a smile. “It kind of came down to me continuing what we started here (last season). I didn’t like the way it finished with us losing in the conference finals, but at the same time, it gave us a little taste of what the group could do."
He added, “I want to see us raise a banner here in this building, and I want to be here to do it.”
EDITOR’S NOTE: Follow Dave Vest on Twitter @davest4yotes.