Former Arizona Coyotes forward Shane Doan has announced his retirement after being informed by the Phoenix club that he would not be resigned by them. Despite being an unrestricted free agent, Doan has made the announcement in a letter to fans published in The Arizona Republic.
He said: “I could not fathom at the time that I would end up playing in Arizona for the next 21 years, raise a family and call this place home. But that’s exactly what happened. And that’s why this has been one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make. I’m retiring from the NHL.”
Having been selected by the Winnipeg Jets with the No. 7 pick of the 1995 NHL Draft, Doan went on to spend his entire 21-season NHL career with the Jets/Coyotes franchise, which moved from Winnipeg to Arizona in 1996.
- Doan enjoyed 21 seasons with the club
- He captained the Coyotes for the last 13 seasons
- Final season he made 27 points (six goals, 27 assists) in 74 games last season
Overall, in 1,540 NHL games, Doan had 972 points (402 goals, 570 assists) and is the Jets/Coyotes leader in all four of these significant categories.
In a glittering career, he is also only one of nine players in NHL history to have played in at least 21 seasons with the same franchise. Three players made more appearances with one organisation than Doan; Gordie Howe, 1,687 with the Detroit Red Wings; Nicklas Lidstrom, 1,584 with the Red Wings; and Alex Delvecchio, 1,549, also with the Red Wings. Doan is tied for 14th for the most games played in NHL history.
Doan was part of the NHL All-Star Game in 2004 and 2009, and in 2010 was awarded the King Clancy Memorial Trophy, a prize given to the player who typifies leadership on and off the ice and has made an important humanitarian contribution to his community.
He played his first NHL game in 1995 with the Winnipeg Jets three days before his 19th birthday and after three seasons in the Western Hockey League. He had two assists in a 7-5 win against the Dallas Stars at Winnipeg Arena.
Doan had to wait seventeen NHL games to score his first goal, but the wait was worth it. With the Jets trailing to the Chicago Blackhawks 5-3 at Winnipeg Arena, Doan zipped a shot past Chicago defensemen Chris Chelios and Gary Suter, and off the far post to beat goalie Ed Belfour at 17:20 of the third period. Teemu Selanne tied the game 2:25 later, before Doan scored a second goal 39 seconds into overtime to complete a 6-5 Jets’ win.
He was a player who delivered when the Jets needed him most during their final regular-season home game against the Los Angeles Kings in 1996. His goal at 14:31 of the second period was the winning goal in a 4-3 victory that clinched the Jets’ first appearance in the Stanley Cup Playoffs in three years.
Doan and the Jets were ultimately eliminated from the Western Conference Quarterfinals by the Detroit Red Wings losing 4-1 in Game 6, which was also the last NHL game ever played at Winnipeg Arena. He was named captain of the Coyotes soon after when Teppo Numminen was traded to the Stars.
It took 16 seasons and 1,161 games before Doan was to get his first NHL hat trick, but did it in unforgettable fashion during the Coyotes’ 5-1 win against the New York Islanders at Jobing.com Arena.
Doan scored with one-tenth of a second left in the third period, which left officials having to go to video review to make sure the puck crossed the goal line before the final buzzer. Doan had 38 two-goal games without a hat trick, which tied Petr Sykora for the most in NHL history.
He scored goal number 400 in his 1,500th NHL game against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Gila River Arena, becoming the 93rd NHL player to reach 400. He said, “The [400th] goal means it took me a really long time because I’ve played a lot of games. You appreciate every time you get one of those milestones.”
The Coyotes released a statement congratulating Doan on his amazing career, saying:
“On behalf of the entire Arizona Coyotes organization, our fans and our corporate partners, we would like to thank Shane for everything that he’s done for our franchise over the past 21 years. Shane had an incredible career on the ice and we are very proud of everything that he accomplished in a Coyotes uniform. He will be remembered as one of the greatest captains in NHL history. Off the ice, Shane was a great ambassador for growing the game of hockey in Arizona and his contributions to the community are immeasurable. Shane will be a Coyote for life. Thank you, Captain!”