SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Arizona legend Shane Doan and the Arizona Coyotes are one and the same. They're practically synonymous when it comes to hockey in the Valley of the Sun.
Doan retired following 21 seasons and 1,540 regular-season NHL games with the Coyotes franchise. He finished his career having played 1,540 regular-season games tied with John Bucyk for 17th place on the NHL's all-time list.
Just as Doan's NHL career was about to begin, he never imagined he would call the desert his home.
"I didn't even know there was hockey in Arizona," Doan said. "Not in a million years. I would never guess this would be home, and I would get the chance to do something like this with Team Canada."
In late December when the NHL and NHLPA pivoted from sending its players to the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, then-Hockey Canada General Manager Doug Armstrong resigned from his position due to the change.
Instead, Coyotes Chief Hockey Development Officer in Doan helped fill the vacancy despite being new to an executive role.
"I think the biggest difference (challenge) is you dwell on it longer when you're off the ice," Doan said. "You can't do anything about it when the game is going on."
Doan was partially responsible for scouting and handpicking players to make up the roster for Team Canada in the upcoming 2022 Olympic games.
"It's all these different leagues and you're trying to compare these players at different stages of their lives and different stages of their career," Doan said. "Not being able to see them play together is very difficult."
Doan was a member of the Canadian team back in the 2006 Olympics and has been involved with Hockey Canada since he retired from the NHL.
"Just being part of a team at the Olympics is so special," Doan said. "Those are things you never ever forget."
But life off the ice has also had its fair share of challenges for the Arizona legend.
"Being able to have control of my own schedule is really nice," Doan said. "But that is also one of the things I miss the most. Everyone takes care of you."
Doan may no longer play in the NHL but said watching his son Josh follow in his footsteps has been extremely special. The Coyotes drafted Doan's son with the 37th pick in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft.
"He's the biggest Coyotes fan there is," Doan exclaimed about his son. "He's watched the team his whole life and it was a really incredible moment for the both of us. It's cool to see his experience and see how different it is from mine."
When asked if Doan if would possibly coach in the NHL one day, he didn't refute the possibility, but said he was content with where his life is currently.
"Obviously you look over your career and try to figure out if you would change this or that," Doan said. "The answer is no. I love where I am and am very fortunate."
The next obstacle for Doan? Helping Team Canada bring home the Gold medal in the quickly approaching Winter Olympics.
"You just have to put your cards on the table and hopefully play them the right way," Doan said.
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