Quoting The Captain: Doan on his career, recklessness, ticks and fans
Over 21 seasons with the Arizona Coyotes franchise, Shane Doan became the face of Valley hockey.
Even though he hung up the skates with the announcement of his retirement on Wednesday, his legacy as one of the most humble athletes to play professional sports in Arizona will continue to grow along the likes of Larry Fitzgerald, Luis Gonzalez and others.
Doan joined Burns and Gambo on 98.7 FM, Arizona’s Sports Station for an hour Wednesday to talk about his decision to retire, his less-than-ceremonious ending with the Coyotes and his career with Arizona.
Perhaps some of the best soundbites from his conversation can stand alone.
Here are some of his thoughts from his first post-retirement interview.
On leaning toward playing another season and ultimately deciding against it: “I was pretty comfortable with the decision (to retire) towards the very end of the season. I had talked with (equipment manager) Stan (Wilson) and my wife, and they’re like, ‘Hey, just make sure this isn’t just a decision that towards the end of the season you’re making because you’re tired,’ and the team, we weren’t doing too well. It wasn’t always fun coming to the rink. And then I waited a little bit and I probably would’ve made a decision right around then. When I got told that, I did, I overreacted — probably why I shouldn’t have said anything at the end of the season is why I shouldn’t have said anything right then. And I did. As I kind of recognized that the situation was what it was (after the Coyotes refused to offer him a deal), this was the right decision.”
Doan on the weight his family had on the choice and the possibility of joining a new team: “I didn’t want to move. There’s so many things you have to put on hold, and they don’t even get to put them on hold because their life keeps continuing. The fact that my daughter is gone (to college in California) … (my son) Josh is 15 and he might be home for two more years, three more years. I was like, holy cow, this is happening so fast. And my wife had sacrificed so much for not having me for six or seven months a year. It just didn’t seem to equate in my mind to that’s what I needed to do anymore.”
Discussing how playing for one franchise was important: “It seemed important to me to honor that a certain way. That isn’t something that I’m just going to — because I’m angry or mad — throw away something like that because it is special.”
On where Doan can let out his aggression now that he doesn’t have hockey: “I get teased at times of being, fairly, on the ice, there were probably — not probably — that I was considered a dirty player at times, that you’d finish a check in the playoffs, particularly, trying to find a way to win, to find an advantage. I enjoy that kind of aggression, I really did. And there’s no way you can do it anywhere else.”
On how he suppressed his anger in June after learning the Coyotes did not offer him a contract: “I didn’t feel like it was what I wanted. I think we have an idea of how we want things to go and when they don’t go that way, we tend to react. I had some people that were really close to me — with my wife and Stan again — who were like, ‘You have to understand that you have to be careful, and not be just reckless.'”
Speaking on how quickly his career passed him by: “It just happens so fast and then when it’s over, it’s like ‘woh.’ It sounds like such the old guy saying that to young people. I’m skating with (some Coyotes) … and you really, really sound old when you say, ‘Oh, guys, don’t take it for granted. It happens so fast.'”
Remembering being named as team captain: “The jerseys had just changed when it happened. I remember being, I think we were at Arrowhead Mall. (Coach) Wayne Gretzky and (former GM) Mike Barnett were the ones that told me — just the fact that Wayne and Mike Barnett were the ones telling me was cool. That’s one of those things where, 30 captains in the league, is a pretty special group.”
Doan, speaking on the case of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever he came down with in December 2013: “That was just bizarre and weird. Watch out for ticks. But I did learn a lot about them.”
Being in the same tier of local athletes with Larry Fitzgerald and Luis Gonzalez: “For me it’s really cool. I’m really a fan. When Larry caught the pass against Green Bay … I remember jumping up on the couch and telling him to run and being so genuine — just genuinely excited about the moment. Anything that Goldy’s done … Being a fan and then obviously, what Gonzo did with 2001 and on top of that, being at the Game 7 was incredible.”
A message to the fans: “I’m very overwhelmed with how I’ve been treated over the years. I’ve seen so many people that I’ve grown up with — I was 19, 18 when I got here — there are people who are 8 and 9 who have watched me my whole life. I appreciate the way I’ve been treated here in the Valley. I know it doesn’t seem like enough but I really am thankful.”
— Arizona Sen. John McCain released a statement following Doan’s retirement:
“Today, we wish a bittersweet congratulations to Arizona Coyotes great Shane Doan on his retirement from the NHL. After 21 seasons, 1,540 games, and 972 points scored, Shane Doan can retire his skates with pride. A pillar in the Arizona community and a legend to all hockey fans worldwide, Shane has left an indelible mark on the game, inspiring future generations of hockey players.
“Arizona has been fortunate to watch Shane play for the Arizona Coyotes for 20 seasons – 14 of which he led the team as captain. I have been privileged to get to know Shane over the course of his career and can confidently say that he is a model of leadership and sportsmanship to those around him, both on and off the ice. I join with hockey fans in Arizona and across the world in congratulating Shane on his illustrious career and wish him, his wife Andrea, and his kids Gracie, Josh, Karys and Carson, all the best.”
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