Shane Doan no longer wears the “C” as the captain of the Arizona Coyotes. But after a 21-year playing career and a stint in the NHL league office, the All-Star right wing was brought back by the Coyotes in mid-January in the somewhat nebulous role of Chief Development Hockey Officer. It’s the ideal gig for the Alberta, Canada, native. Doan is learning the business, marketing and community relations aspects of the organization while on the hockey side serving as a sounding board and working with the team’s younger players. Who better to learn from? Doan is the franchise’s all-time leader in games, goals, assists, points and myriad other categories, and also is known by local media to be one of the nicest and most genuine personalities to emerge from the Valley pro sports scene. (In 2018, he served as a pallbearer at late Arizona Senator John McCain’s memorial service.) We spoke with the father of four about his new job, his long-term dream and why his recreational league hockey teammates keep telling him to shoot the puck.
What does your new job entail? How do you see it evolving over time?
It’s given me an opportunity to kind of be involved in the hockey and the corporate side and learn from someone like [team president] Xavier [Gutierrez], who I’ve been really impressed with. The fact I’ve been in the Valley since 1996 and seen the city grow and being a part of the organization from its infancy to where it is now helps me understand where it fits in the business realm and where it fits in the market. That’s how I can help a little bit. I think a big selling point to me was Coyotes Cares [part of the Arizona Coyotes Foundation]. We’re able to get into the community and show professional sports fans that we do care about this community.
Is it your dream to run your own team as a GM one day?
I think it’s every hockey player’s dream to run his own team. That would be great. When I talk to young kids or when I’m helping to coach the young guys, part of my speech is telling them, “It’s not about you.” It’s about being part of a whole group. That’s the coolest part of the whole sport, being able to collaborate. As a GM, you would be doing that.
When we ask fans to name their favorite Coyote, you still get a lot of votes. What does that mean to you?
I must have been around for a long time. I’m a little bit harder to forget. It means a lot. Every athlete has an ego. To pretend that it doesn’t mean anything wouldn’t be honest. At the same time, I recognize I get a little more recognition because I happened to be around a lot longer than a lot of people.
Do you still suit up and play?
I will play until the day I die. I play in a recreational league, I play with alumni. I love the game. It’s the best sport ever. The camaraderie of being around the guys is so much fun. I will do it until I can’t do it anymore.
You must be a prolific scorer in your rec league.
No, I’m not. I don’t shoot the puck. I like being out there, passing the puck, having fun. I shoot as seldom as I can. My teammates definitely ask me to shoot the puck more than I do, but at the same time these goalies haven’t had their equipment updated in a while and I don’t want to hurt them.