Updated Apr 19, 2011 - 11:51 am
A letter to Mr. Shane Doan
Mr. Shane Doan
Captain Phoenix Coyotes
6751 North Sunset Boulevard
Glendale, AZ 85305
Dear Mr. Doan:
As you prepare to play your last game ever as a member of the Phoenix Coyotes, would you mind if I ask you for a favor?
On your way out of Phoenix, please don't tell anyone of your stay. I think our region would look much better in the eyes of the nation if you just keep your years as a Coyote our little secret. I don't want the country to know we're not a major league city.
You have been a role model to every professional athlete in this city as well as every kid. You accept every media request. You tirelessly work to promote your team and sport. Every ounce of your heart has been put on display as you've tried to carry the Coyotes in the playoffs. You kept working to come back to the ice last year despite a shoulder that wouldn't allow you to tie your own skates. None of it matters.
I don't want other local athletes to hold you up as an example. "Why should I do that interview or that charity promotion? Shane Doan did it and how did it work out for him? He got shipped out to Canada?"
I don't want the rest of the country to know that Phoenix sports fans have the biggest gap between team expectations and what teams can do with poor support from the very fans placing the expectations. You are a winner that went unsupported.
I can't stand reading the Canadian press that mocks your inability to lead a team deep into the playoffs. If they know so much about hockey, can't they see your career was handcuffed by Wayne Gretzky, a destroyed shoulder, and a goalkeeper who can't handle the playoffs? You've done your job while never letting anyone else even take the bus out of the garage, let alone running over someone with it.
I can't imagine your pain now that it seems to be over. Do you retire when you still have good hockey left in you? Do you move your family to the city of your employer when all they know is Phoenix as home? Do you miss every one of your kids' games, plays and "Donuts with Dad" event at their school while you keep playing in another city feeling like you've selfishly moved away from your family as they stay in Phoenix?
All of these decisions must be made because Coyotes ownership, the NHL, the Goldwater Institute, Wayne Gretzky and Phoenix sports fans didn't support you as much as you supported them.
You are the most under-appreciated athlete I've ever had the privilege of covering, watching and enjoying. You deserved better.
Co-host Doug and Wolf