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Coyotes will retire Shane Doan’s No. 19 jersey on Feb. 24 vs. Jets

Arizona Coyotes forward Shane Doan (19) looks on prior to the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Buffalo Sabres, Thursday, March. 2, 2017, in Buffalo, N.Y. (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes)

It’s no secret that Shane Doan wasn’t ready to walk away from his NHL career last summer, but it’s not in his nature to hold a grudge. So when the Coyotes approached him again about having his number retired — a year after the team parted ways with its longtime captain in a well-publicized meeting — Doan was ready to let bygones be bygones.

“It doesn’t really do anyone any good to hold onto things,” he said. “You just move on.

“It wasn’t done out of anything vindictive. It was just a decision that was made and I’m sure it was made because they thought it was the right decision. You can’t fault anyone for doing what they think is right.”

What is right is that Doan’s No. 19 jersey will be retired and raised to the rafters when the Coyotes host the Winnipeg Jets at Gila River Arena on Feb. 24. Doan spent his first NHL season with the Jets and his final 20 seasons with the Coyotes after the franchise relocated from Winnipeg to Arizona in 1996.

“Shane Doan is Mr. Coyote and a Valley icon,” Coyotes President and CEO Ahron Cohen said in a release. “No one has done more for the Coyotes or the game hockey in Arizona than Shane. For the past 22 years, Shane has been an incredible ambassador for our franchise and has represented the Coyotes with class, dignity and professionalism. He has given his heart and soul to the Coyotes and is most deserving of this tremendous honor.”

Doan will be the first player to have his number retired by the Coyotes organization and will join Bobby Hull, Dale Hawerchuk, Thomas Steen, Keith Tkachuk, Jeremy Roenick and Teppo Numminen in the team’s ring of honor, which also includes its days in Winnipeg. The Jets selected him with the No. 7 overall pick in the 1995 NHL Draft and he still has his draft-day jersey from Winnipeg.

Doan served as the Coyotes captain for 13 seasons. Tkachuk and Numminen are the only other players to have served as captain for the Coyotes.

“It doesn’t happen very often so I appreciate it and I’m very grateful and thankful,” Doan said of the jersey retirement. “You don’t ever expect it. You don’t ever assume it. When you’re playing it’s the last thing you are thinking of.

“I was beyond blessed. I had an opportunity to play with one organization the whole time. People don’t get offered that opportunity too often. People come in and make changes. I was so fortunate over the years that when new people came in – and we had a quite a few new people over the years – they allowed me to continue to play for the Coyotes.”

Doan announced his retirement on Aug. 30, 2017. He is the franchise record holder for games played (1,540), shots (3,945), goals (402), assists (570), points (972), power-play goals (128) and game-winning goals (69). He was an NHL All-Star in 2004 and 2009. He won the King Clancy Memorial Trophy for community service in 2010 and the Mark Messier NHL Leadership Award in 2012.

More than that, Doan was a positive light for a franchise as it weathered ownership strife, arena uncertainty and a lack of postseason success.

“Every guy I have ever played with asks me what kind of guy he is and I tell them ‘the best,'” said former teammate Keith Yandle, now with the Florida Panthers, when Doan retired. “My whole time there, I kept thinking that I want to be like Shane Doan. He leaves an impression on everyone he meets and he left an impression all over the league.”

When the night of the ceremony finally arrives, the Coyotes will likely have recorded messages from former teammates, coaches and executives, and many of those people will likely attend the ceremony. Doan hasn’t decided yet what he will tell the fans when he addresses them one more time, but he knows the overriding message.

“I know I’m going to say thank you because not too many people were given as much gratitude as the fans in Phoenix gave me,” he said. “I’ve been over-the-moon blessed by them and given so much by them. I owe them all a huge thank you for how they welcomed me and my family and made it such an amazing experience for us. It’s probably going to be a more emotional night than I want it to be.”

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