Shane Doan, captain of the Arizona Coyotes from 2003 to 2017, officially announced his retirement from the NHL Wednesday in a heartfelt letter published in the Arizona Republic, calling it “one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make.”
The 40-year-old forward spent his 21-year entire career playing with the Coyotes franchise, playing a franchise record total 1,540 games and also setting the team’s records for goals (402), points (972), shots (3,945), assists (570), power-play goals (128), and game-winning goals (69). His 21 years with the Coyotes organization made him the third-longest tenured player in the NHL at the time of his retirement.
Despite Doan’s record-setting performance on the Coyotes, the team chose not to re-sign him at the conclusion of the 2016-17 season, making Doan a free agent for the first time in his career. In part due to a number of injuries, Doan’s production had dropped to only 6 goals and 21 assists last season. The franchise cited a desire to focus on young talent as a factor in their decision to part ways with their celebrated captain.
Even so, the Coyotes issued a statement after the release of Doan’s announcement, calling him “one of the greatest captains in NHL history.”
After speaking to several teams this summer without being able to successfully close the deal on an offer, Doan chose to end his career in the same city that made his career.
In his letter to fans, Doan said “I’ve been blessed and I’m so grateful for the fans and their support. They stuck by me throughout my career and the ups and downs of the Coyotes. There are a lot of players with more skill than me and a lot more ability than me that didn’t ever get the type of appreciation that I got and the type of respect that the fans gave me, and I’m so grateful for that. I can’t express how much I appreciate it. Thank you for watching me grow up, and I enjoyed watching a lot of you grow up, too.
“I also want say thanks to the Coyotes, who provided me the opportunity to stay in the Valley for 21 years. That’s one of the most meaningful accomplishments of my career, and I’ll forever cherish the friendships I’ve made along the way.”
Doan also expressed his immense thanks that he and his wife were able to give their four children the stability of remaining in one city for his entire career, a feat not often accomplished by NHL players.
“I felt an indescribable wave of emotion to have the support that I’ve had over the years from the fans throughout all of the uncertainty. You have always defended me and supported me. Playing in front of you has honestly been one of the greatest experiences of my life.”
You believed in us when no one else believed.
And for that, we’ll be forever grateful.
Simply put, thank you for being you, Shane Doan. pic.twitter.com/X1xrE28zDl
— Arizona Coyotes (@ArizonaCoyotes) August 30, 2017
My childhood idol growing up. Amazing player and an even better person. Congrats on an unbelievable career Doaner !
— Auston Matthews (@AM34) August 30, 2017
Shane Doan, Great human being, amazing career, Thanks for everything you have done for hockey, good luck life after hockey my friend 😊 pic.twitter.com/OXC1iA3iIv
— Teemu Selanne (@TeemuSel8nne) August 30, 2017
Thank you Shane Doan for everything u’ve done for me, the Coyotes organization, & the game of hockey throughout ur career. Enjoy retirement. pic.twitter.com/laCzaqlSLl
— Paul Bissonnette (@BizNasty2point0) August 30, 2017
Congrats to one of the nicest/best guys in hockey on a great career… Awesome player but better person! https://t.co/gANMdVHx5y
— Matthew Tkachuk (@TKACHUKycheese_) August 30, 2017
— Jakob Chychrun (@j_chychrun7) August 30, 2017
One of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet…off the ice. Fantastic career pal! 👏🏼 https://t.co/ysMWxYC5Yy
— Andrew Ference (@Ferknuckle) August 30, 2017
Congrats on an incredible career Doaner. One of the best people to ever play the game. Honored to be your teammate and call you a friend. 🐐 pic.twitter.com/mb2SPy1L8u
— Max Domi (@max_domi) August 30, 2017
— Anthony Duclair (@aduclair10) August 30, 2017
Headline image by Christian Petersen
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