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Shane Doan recounts Rangers sending a helicopter to pick him up

Shane Doan #19 of the Phoenix Coyotes looks on before taking on the Los Angeles Kings in Game Five of the Western Conference Final during the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Jobing.com Arena on May 22, 2012 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

One of the key points in Shane Doan’s lasting legacy is that he played his entire career with one franchise.

Through thick and thin — sometimes, quite thin indeed — Doan remained the face of the Arizona Coyotes even when the team’s very existence seemed in danger. That doesn’t mean he didn’t have the opportunity to go elsewhere.

In joining Sportsnet’s 31 Thoughts podcast with Elliotte Friedman and Jeff Marek, Doan talked about once looking at Calgary and Vancouver as an unrestricted free agent, even to the point where he looked at houses. Later on, the New York Rangers went to some length to get Doan’s attention.

“The Rangers, it was actually during the lockout,” Doan said. “I’m doing kind of the negotiations and helping out with everything that’s going on during the lockout [in New York City]. And the Rangers called and were like, ‘Hey, would you want to come out and look at our practice facility?’ And I was like, ‘yeah, sure.'”

With him in New York were Doan’s kids, who were old enough to hang out at the hotel during the day while he was off dealing with CBA negotiations.

“They sent a helicopter and picked us up!” Doan said. “I was like, ‘What?’ I said, ‘Wait a minute, this isn’t even the same league that I play in. How are they doing this?’ So they sent a helicopter, picked us up at the airport, flew us to the practice facility, showed us around, came back. It was like, my kids, I’ve got pictures in the helicopter. It was amazing.

“We went to the Rangers and saw their practice facility, which was over the top and it’s incredible. Two days later, once it came out that I went to visit the Rangers, the Flyers called.”

Ultimately, Doan stayed in Arizona.

“The kids loved it. It was tempting. The Flyers is like a family atmosphere and the Rangers was like absolute corporate atmosphere,” Doan said. “It was really bizarre to see the difference and the feel between each organization.”

He cited family and his closeness with the support staff with the Coyotes as reasons for staying. He said he doesn’t regret one bit of his career, from that decision to the time he invested in helping keep the team in the Valley.

“Oh, without a doubt. But it’s worth it because people ask me about, ‘Do you have any regrets?’ No, none, zero,” Doan said. “It taught me so much more about the whole aspect of the game that it was incredible to understand the business side and see how that all works. But on top of it, I developed so many relationships and friendships. And I think that really is the most important part.

“I would never, ever change any of that because, hockey-wise, it was times where it was frustrating. But even hockey-wise, it was amazing, and I was treated way better than I ever deserved, way better than I ever thought I would be by the fans and the people here in the Valley.”


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