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Doan honored, humbled to have number retired

Coyotes will raise longtime captain's No. 19 to celebrate 21-season career

by Tim Campbell @TimNHL / Staff Writer

Shane Doan finds himself between dumbstruck and awestruck as he prepares to become the first Arizona Coyotes player to have his number retired.

The 42-year-old longtime Coyotes captain retired after the 2016-17 season. He spent 21 seasons with the franchise, starting in Winnipeg with the original Jets and then through the relocation to Arizona. His No. 19 will be raised to the Gila River Arena rafters Sunday prior to the game between the Coyotes and Jets (9 p.m. ET; FS-A, TSN3, NHL.TV).

"Unexpected, maybe a little uncomfortable," Doan said of the honor. "At the same time, so excited to have so many people coming, people that are close to me. It's going to be so much fun.

"To get to share it with the fans here in Arizona and have friends and family around; it's something you never dream of but to get to experience it is pretty amazing."

Keith Tkachuk, Jeremy Roenick and Teppo Numminen of the Coyotes, and Bobby Hull, Thomas Steen and Dale Hawerchuk of the original Jets have been inducted into the Coyotes Ring of Honor, but none has had his number retired.

Doan's nervousness in the days before the jersey-raising ceremony is consistent with his humble farm upbringing and strong Christian faith, according Coyotes equipment manager Stan Wilson, his closest friend.

"The funny part is, he's not a whole lot different now," said Wilson, who met Doan not long after the original Jets made the 18-year-old from Halkirk, Alberta, their first-round pick (No. 7) at the 1995 NHL Draft. "He's a happy kid, just older now. Polite and the consummate good kid that came in, had the farmer work ethic and away he went."

Doan went all the way to 1,540 NHL regular-season games for the Coyotes/Jets franchise. He's tied with Johnny Bucyk (1955-78) for 16th on the League's all-time games played list. Bucyk played two seasons with the Detroit Red Wings and 21 with the Boston Bruins.

Gordie Howe holds the NHL games-played record with 1,767, all but the last 80 with the Red Wings. The only one-franchise players who have played more games than Doan are defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom of the Red Wings, (1,564 games from 1991-2012) and center Alex Delvecchio of the Red Wings (1,550 from 1950-74).

Doan is the Coyotes/Jets career leader in most meaningful categories, including games played, goals (402), assists (570), points (972), and game-winning goals (69). He succeeded Numminen as captain on Sept. 10, 2003, and held the position until he retired. Doan had 13 seasons of at least 20 goals, including 2015-16, his next-to-last season, when he scored 28.

"Obviously you've got to wait, but (his jersey) should have been in the rafters the day after he retired," said Florida Panthers defenseman Keith Yandle, who played with Doan and the Coyotes from 2006-14. "What he brought to that team, organization, city, you can't imagine. There wouldn't (be) a team there if it wasn't for Doaner.

"He's one of the most inspirational guys I've had in my career on and off the ice."

Doan was recognized by the NHL with two leadership awards during his career. He won the King Clancy Memorial Trophy, awarded to the player who best exemplifies leadership qualities on and off the ice and who has made a significant humanitarian contribution to his community, in 2010, and the Mark Messier NHL Leadership Award in 2012.

Still, he downplayed his leadership role in helping keep the Coyotes in the Phoenix metropolitan area though ownership changes during his career. He said his formula for having the most impact was simple: caring for the people around you.

"Once I became the captain, you start to feel responsible," he said. "Then I started to feel like the team was my team, and everyone, including the trainers and equipment staff and support staff, they became like family. That was a big part of it as well."

Wilson said it was Doan's consistent mindset that made a difference.

"He was very involved in what goes on, on the ice, off the ice," Wilson said. "In his mind, it was his team.

"When you go through all the ups and downs that this franchise has gone through, he felt more and more responsible for the team and the people around him. That's his personality. When there were chances to go other places, I think he felt a responsibility to make this succeed in Arizona."

In addition to his prolonged excellence as a player, Doan's countless community connections have made an impact.

Ice Den Scottsdale, the Coyotes' practice facility, honored Doan last August by putting his name on one of its three rinks.

"I've been around there quite a bit and I'm so grateful that they wanted to put my name on it," he said. "I really didn't know what to say. But it's pretty cool that my signature is in the ice."

Kris King was captain of the Jets when Doan broke into the NHL in 1995 and played with him the next season, when the team relocated to Phoenix. King, now the NHL's senior vice president of hockey operations, said having the rink named in his honor is just one example of how Doan has touched his community.

"In Shane's case, with the uniqueness of Arizona, not a known hotbed of hockey, well, it has some respectability now and kids are playing there in so many places. It's Shane who has to get some credit for what he's done in that community," King said. "It's not a traditional market and the hockey picture there has changed, is changing.

"I think he's earned a lot of respect from a lot of people for who he is, more for what he's done off the ice. And he did lots on the ice."

Coyotes coach Rick Tocchet, who played three seasons (1997-2000) with Doan, said his former teammate has been the franchise's rock and that his legacy is still being felt.

"For guys that played with him, well, it's helped my team because they care about each other," Tocchet said of the current Coyotes, who entered Friday one point out of the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference. "It's something he's left with these guys for sure, that they care like this."

The pace of Doan's day-to-day life has not slowed much in retirement. He has been able to spend more time with his wife Andrea and their four children, Gracie, 20, Josh, 17, Karys, 14 and Carson 12.

Doan has maintained his involvement with the eight to 12 horses he keeps at his ranch in the Phoenix area and the ranch with nearly 100 horses his father and his cousin operate in Halkirk.

"I grew up with horses," Doan said. "The family joke is that we had a rodeo every Saturday at home and all my uncles and grandfather are all in the Canadian rodeo hall of fame and I was either going to be a cowboy or a hockey player and I wasn't tough enough to be a cowboy.

"The ranch where I grew up, we had 50 horses and that was my summer job. I'd saddle horses and take trail rides. I'd be on a horse seven hours a day from beginning of June to the end of September."

Doan has also invested time helping coach his son Josh, a forward who turned 17 on Feb. 1 and plays for the Phoenix Junior Coyotes Under-16 team.

"It's a pretty good team and we have a lot of fun doing that," Doan said. "It's been a blast. I travel quite a bit with them and they're probably more my job now than anything. It's one of those things I really, really enjoy."

Doan was hired by the NHL's Hockey Operations department on Oct. 26, 2017. He said he is thrilled to remain connected with the League, calling it "An incredible education while getting to be around people I really respect and admire.

"A really big part of it was the people, a chance to work with (executive vice president and director of hockey operations) Colin Campbell and Kris King," Doan said. "I didn't know (hockey operations staff) Mike Murphy, Rod Pasma or Kay Whitmore before, but I couldn't have been more fortunate to be asked to do this. An absolute Godsend to me to be able to spend time with those guys. It's kind of like a dressing room and I'm the young guy on the totem pole.

"I love the fact I'm still able to do it with them and to be able to listen and see how they interact with the clubs on a management level is huge. I wanted to be able to understand what goes on behind the scenes and how it all works."

King said Doan's addition has been a home run for the department in many ways, confirmed for him by this snapshot from the 2017 Scotiabank NHL100 Classic in Ottawa.

A few days before the outdoor game at Lansdowne Park, King wanted to introduce Doan to some broadcasting people but couldn't find him at the stadium.

"The tarps were being taken off the rink," King said. "They're held down by 20-foot two-by-fours and there he was out on the rink, hauling off the two-by-fours over his shoulder, about 10 at a time, with the crew. He got right in there to help; didn't have to ask him. The guys were there watching this 21-year NHLer hauling off the lumber, and it sent a pretty cool message about him."

Tocchet said there are plenty of reasons to be proud of the one-franchise wonder that is Doan.

"Such a selfless guy who cared about his teammates," Tocchet said. "And one franchise only; so unique. There are so many variables now that usually somebody's leaving, no matter how great the player or person is.

"To be able to do that, he's had to weather the storm no matter what it was. He withstood all of that."

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