SCOTTSDALE, AZ - We've been keeping up with Phoenix Coyotes captain, Shane Doan, this offseason.
Turns out he's trading in his skates for cowboy boots this summer and it's something he's been doing for years.
In rural Alberta, Canada, where Doan grew up, you either chose the range or the rink.
"I wasn't quite tough enough to be a cowboy, so I had to be a hockey player and yet I'm trying to kind of dabble at being a cowboy on the side," Doan said.
If you've seen Doan on the ice, you know he's a tough guy.
But when he's not checking players and scoring goals, he's at the Ice Barns tightening cinches and riding his horse, Bucky.
Bucky may not sound like a name a tough guy would call his horse, but Shane insisted his daughter picked it out.
Doan bought the ranch in North Scottsdale with a dream to share his love for horses with family, friends, and folks who can't afford to own a horse.
"Owning a horse is expensive and it's time consuming and it's a lot of things I don't think people have time to do and yet a lot of people want to have the freedom of owning a horse and being able to come out and ride when you want and do what you want with the horse," Doan said.
Folks can buy a membership to the Ice Barns for $300/month or $450/month for a family and in return get horses, room to ride, access to the clubhouse and none of the dirty work.
"It's like a golf club where you come out and join, you pick out your horse out of our selection and say 'ok that's mine' and from then on you kind of have the freedom to do what you want," Doan said. "When you spend time on a good horse, on a quiet horse that you can enjoy, you do forget about everything else that's going on. It's hard to be in a grumpy mood riding across the desert, you just enjoy it."
But even in the dusty desert, far from any real ice, the Canadian cowboy can't entirely escape from hockey.
Bucky wears Shane's #19 on his saddle, along with the logos of the team he's devoted his entire career to.
Doan said it was a gift from his teammates for his 1,000th game.
It's a reminder of the years he's spent playing for the Coyotes, raising a family and planting his Canadian roots deeply in the desert.
"I've been here so long, this is home and I think that's the biggest thing. For my kids, this is home. They don't really have an understanding that in professional hockey you move around and besides that, the fact that I can enjoy being outside and doing stuff outside," Doan said.
So while we know him as one of the best the Valley has to offer on skates, we now know he's right at home in the stirrups too.
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