For Arizona legend Shane Doan, it wasn’t a matter of if he was ever rejoining the Coyotes organization in some capacity, it was a matter of when.
That day came Monday when the club announced the hire of Doan as the team’s chief hockey development officer.
After spending his entire career with the organization, it’s a dream come true for the Captain.
“I’ve honestly hoped and wanted for the opportunity to do this,” Doan said via Zoom. “I don’t know if I was thinking it would come right now with everything that’s been going on. … But I was pretty excited about this opportunity to be involved and help do whatever I can to help.”
As chief hockey development officer, Doan’s role with the team will be much more than on-the-ice production.
Some of his duties include working with youth hockey and NHL alumnus from the area, while also providing Arizona with league office insight he picked up during his three years with the NHL operations department.
“I think the biggest thing is I’ve been in the Valley the whole time. I’ve seen the history of our team and I’ve seen the history of the organization,” Doan said. “There’s an understanding of where you’ve come from sometimes helps when you’re planning the direction you’re going in the future.
“At the same time, there’s things that I learned in the last three years with the league that I’m going to be able to take in, just the understanding of how important people are and how important relationships are. That matters so much and particularly in our sport.”
Doan is hoping he can bring a mix of what he’s learned from league, along with his hometown roots, to help bring about change in the community.
“Athletes are viewed as … for the most part as takers,” Doan told Arizona Sports’ Burns & Gambo on Monday. “They get given influence, they get given money, they get given power and the ability to kinda do what they want. For a lot of them, we see them leave and take and go some place and not be seen again.
“I wanted to be able to give back a little bit. And to be a part of the Coyotes and help them give back to the community is something I’m most excited about. Talking with [Coyotes president and CEO] Xavier [Gutierrez], that’s what his plan is, that’s what he wants to do. That probably got me most excited more than anything.”
The reunion tour first got legs last January after Doan spoke with ownership and began forming relationships with the new heads of the organization. After the coronavirus pandemic hit the country, things slowed down between the two sides but never petered out completely. Relationships continued to blossom between the two before Monday’s announcement.
“He’s had tremendous vision when he was here as a captain and leadership. He’s been the face of this franchise,” Coyotes GM Bill Armstrong said via Zoom. “To be able to sit beside him and get his opinion on hockey stuff, it’s just a great day for the organization.”
Doan’s mantra he’s bringing to the Coyotes organization is simple, yet carries a lot of weight.
Do your job well and good people matter.