Shane Doan, the long-time captain of the Arizona Coyotes and multiple medallist for Team Canada, has decided to retire at the age of 40. The announcement ends weeks of speculation as to what he intended to do after the Coyotes said in June they would not sign him to a new contract.
Doan spent his entire 21-year NHL career with the Winnipeg Jets/Phoenix-Arizona Coyotes franchise. He had been captain from 2003 until the end of this past season and was the last remaining player from the original Jets franchise.
The decision also seems to end speculation that he would play hockey somewhere other than the NHL and join Canada’s Olympic efforts in February in PyeongChang.
A member of the famed Kamloops Blazers in the mid-1990s, Doan led the team to consecutive Memorial Cup championships in 1994 and 1995, being named MVP in the latter. This success served as an appropriate springboard to the 1995/96 NHL season when he made the Jets out of training camp as an 18-year-old. He had but seven goals and 17 points in his rookie season after which the team moved to Phoenix.
Doan was slow to develop. His sophomore year wasn’t any better, and even after a year split between the NHL and AHL his development in the short term was nothing to get excited about. At the end of the 1998/99 season, though, he was invited to play for Canada at the World Championship in Norway, and this event started an upswing in his career.
In 1999/2000, Doan had 26 goals to start a string of nine seasons of at least 20. But while he was improving, the Coyotes were not doing as well in the standings, and Doan became a regular with Canada in IIHF events. In 2003, he helped Canada win gold at the World Championship in Finland. This proved to be the first of seven straight years of appearances for Doan representing Canada.
In 2004, Doan was on the team that was victorious at the World Cup of Hockey, and in 2005, the lockout year that saw the World Championship feature a plethora of top NHLers, he won a silver medal.
Doan’s development in the NHL, and success on the bigger European ice, led to his being named to Canada’s 2006 Olympics roster. In 2007, he was named captain and was a force for Canada at the World Championship in Moscow, scoring five goals and ten points to lead Canada to another gold.
He closed out his international career with two silver medals, one on home ice in 2008 during the IIHF’s centennial season and another a year later, in Switzerland. Both times he also wore the “C” for his country. In Canada’s long and great history at the World Championship, only Ryan Smyth has worn the “C” more often than Doan.
Doan played an incredible 1,540 regular-season games in the NHL but only 55 in the playoffs, a reflection of the team more than the player. The closest he came to the Stanley Cup was in 2011/12 when the Los Angeles Kings beat Phoenix in five games of the Western Conference finals to advance to the Cup finals.
Doan was a rare kind of player. He was big and tough enough to play a hard-nosed style, accumulating 1,353 penalties in minutes during his career, but he was a devout Christian who never swore.
Indeed, Doan always wrote “29:11” on his hockey sticks in reference to a short passage from the Book of Jeremiah, chapter 29, verse 11. The passage reads: “For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Doan’s hockey career is over, but if his future proves to be an extension of his past, he will be a very successful man off ice for many years to come.