Coyotes launch Doan Arizona Youth Hockey Fund

Jan 22, 2016, 7:27 PM
Arizona Coyotes' Shane Doan smiles as he greets his wife and kids as he is recognized for becoming ...

Arizona Coyotes' Shane Doan smiles as he greets his wife and kids as he is recognized for becoming the franchise leader for goals, with his 380th, during ceremonies prior to an NHL hockey game against the San Jose Sharks, Thursday, Jan. 21, 2016, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Shane Doan was grateful for the pre-game celebration the Coyotes organized on Thursday to honor him as the franchise’s all-time leading goal scorer.

What really got the captain excited, however, was the $100,000 check team president and CEO Anthony LeBlanc handed him to launch the Doan Arizona Youth Hockey Fund.

“It was far above and beyond anything I would ever dream of and it shows a huge commitment on the Coyotes’ part to youth hockey here in the Valley,” Doan said. “There’s a real opportunity to start something really good here.”

Doan’s teammates gave him a watch to mark the goal-scoring milestone, and GM Don Maloney commissioned a portrait by artist David Arrigo, but the owners were undecided on what to give a guy LeBlanc called “a man who has everything.”

“I started reflecting back on my earliest conversations with Shane,” LeBlanc said. “I think we had only owned the team for about a week when he called to ask how the Coyotes could help youth hockey in the Valley. So I thought, ‘Why don’t we create a new foundation or carve it out of our own and completely dedicate it to the growth of the game in Valley?'”

LeBlanc knew that would come down to money so he was stunned when he sent an email to majority owner Andrew Barroway and received a quick reply.

“He comes back and says ‘I love it. How about we throw in a $100,000 to start?'” LeBlanc said. “I was like, ‘OK.’ I mean, it was great to be the guy with the idea but to have Andy jump on board so substantially was pretty cool and ultimately what matters here.”

Doan is still pondering how to best utilize the seed fund, but he has some ideas.

“I’m thinking about trying to start a national program in conjunction with the two major organizations at the Triple A level, but I’d also like to see it trickle down from there,” he said. “When you look at what the Little Caesars do in Detroit with the Red Wings, or what the happens with a couple teams in Chicago, or the way the Ducks and Kings do things, I’d like to start something similar.”

Doan admits his goals are somewhat “selfish” because his son, Joshua, 13, plays for the Coyotes Amateur Hockey Association, Ultimately, he wants to see hockey grow at all levels in Arizona, and he wants to cast a spotlight on that growth.

“When people think about the Valley they don’t necessarily think about good hockey, but the fact that the NCAA is here (with Arizona State’s program) and the state is starting to create these great prospects like Auston Matthews and Matthew Tkachuk shows what’s happening here,” he said. “I recognize that if the Coyotes had left, none of this would be happening, but because the team and the NHL have made a commitment to stay here, minor hockey is growing in the Valley.”

LeBlanc hopes this is just the start for the Doan Fund, with more ice pads, cheaper participation costs and more kids playing the ultimate goals.

“Our expectation is to use this to go out and raise more funds for youth hockey,” LeBlanc said. “We hope to endow this fund.

“We believe the hockey community in Arizona will continue to grow, but to have him at the fore is a tremendous benefit. When you think about it, who could be better to serve as the sport’s ambassador?”

Kings at Coyotes

When: Saturday, 7 pm.

Where: Gila River Arena, Glendale

TV: FOX Sports Arizona Plus

Radio: KTAR News 92.3 FM

Starting goalies: Kings — TBA. Coyotes — Louis Domingue

Injury report:Coyotes — G Mike Smith (abdominal surgery) and F Joe Vitale (concussion symptoms) are out. Kings– D Matt Green (shoulder surgery) is out indefinitely. F Kyle Clifford (IR, upper body) is out.

Scouting the Kings: G Jonathan Quick is 16-4-2 with a 1.86 goals-against average and a .930 save percentage over his last 22 games … F Tyler Toffoli was a minus-1 in Thursday’s loss to Minnesota, marking only the third game all season in which he has been a minus and ending a 30-game even-or-better stretch. .. C Anze Kopitar leads the team with 40 points (27 assists). Kopitar signed an 8-year, $80-million contract extension last week.

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