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Doan, Coyotes learned of relocation rumors right before playoff game

Shane Doan #19 of the Phoenix Coyotes skates against the Detroit Red Wings during their NHL game at Joe Louis Arena on October 28, 2010 in Detroit, Michigan.(Photo By Dave Sandford/Getty Images)

In April of 2010, the Phoenix Coyotes were in the playoffs to play the Detroit Red Wings.

Captain Shane Doan, who joined Arizona Sports’ Doug & Wolf on Thursday for Legends Week, was asked about the tumult in the Coyotes organization that reared its head in the late 2000s. In case you forgot: The team filed for bankruptcy, relocation rumors were rampant and ownership was unstable. As captain, Doan had to be the face of the franchise during the uncertainty, and he immediately recalled those 2010 playoffs as the moment he was most frustrated with the drama.

“When you play in Joe Louis Arena, you have to drive down a ramp to kind of get to the backside of the arena by the river that runs between Windsor [Ontario] and Detroit,” Doan said. “And as we’re driving down the ramp, someone at the front of the bus kind of stood up and said, ‘Hey, they just said we’re moving.'”

It’s not clear exactly which report the Coyotes were buzzing about on their team bus, but that same week, Chicago White Sox and Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf had his purchase of the Coyotes approved by the Glendale City Council (a deal that eventually fell apart and was never finalized).

“And we had already been going through this for almost a year straight and it was kind of like, we’d made the playoffs for the first time in [six] years, we kind of had some momentum going in the right direction, and this was an official news saying it wasn’t ‘maybe,’ it was official we were moving,” Doan said. “And everyone turned and looked and said, ‘Did you hear we’re moving?’ And on the inside I was losing my mind. But I’m like, ‘No, we’re not moving, don’t worry, it’s fine, it’s just–‘ you know, whatever.

“I remember being so mad, so furious that I’m like, ‘This isn’t right! Do you know how good the team is we’re playing? And now we have to deal with this as we’re walking into the building to play the game?’ I was so mad that it came out at that moment. That was one of the few times where it really kind of bothered me.”

Doan said the first person he went to go see to calm down was Stan Wilson, who today is still the Coyotes’ head equipment manager.

As for that night, with the series tied 1-1, the Coyotes won 4-2 as Ilya Bryzgalov had 29 saves. Phoenix lost that series in seven games.

And 10 years later, the Coyotes still play in Glendale.


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