More than three years after last suiting up for the Arizona Coyotes, Captain Coyote has returned. The organization announced the hiring of Shane Doan as the Chief Hockey Development Officer on Monday, reuniting the long-time captain with the only franchise he ever played for in 21 seasons.
"It's huge," Doan told ABC15 Sports. "Time seems to go by so quickly, and I never in a million years would have thought that I'd be getting this opportunity after 25 years. To still be involved with the organization, I'm beyond blessed and very grateful."
Doan's new role will have him reporting directly to Coyotes President & CEO Xavier Gutierrez, in addition to serving as a strategic advisor to Coyotes owner Alex Meruelo and GM Bill Armstrong on business and hockey operations decisions.
“Shane Doan is a Coyotes legend and a Valley icon,” said Gutierrez. “For the past 25 years, Shane has been an incredible ambassador for our franchise and has represented the Coyotes with dignity and class. He is beloved by our fan base, and we are thrilled to have him back with us where he belongs.”
"I've had some opportunity to work with some great hockey people," said Armstrong. "Keith Tkachuk, and Al MacInnis, and Larry Robinson. And Shane is no different. He's had tremendous vision. He's been the face of this franchise, and to be able to sit beside him and get his opinion on hockey stuff is just a great day for the organization. It's just been impressive getting to know him over the short period of time, and I'm really excited about working with him."
What Doan's new role won't include? Being an emergency fill-in player, despite his 972 career NHL points.
"I tried to fit that in there and was like, 'Hey, you know, just in case you're looking,' but they're not looking for any 45-year-old slow guys. I don't know why. I'm not sure? I think they're missing the boat a little bit on that," Doan joked.
Nearly two years ago, Doan became the first Coyotes player to have his jersey retired at Gila River Arena. But Monday was the first day Doan has been back to the arena in an official capacity since retiring.
"It was incredible. To walk in and to talk to Rich [Nairn] and to find Stan [Wilson] and to do those things with the guys that I've known since, in all seriousness, since I was a boy was really special. And to be part of that as a group is something that I look forward to. I can't believe the opportunity that the Meruelo's and Xavier and Bill have given me."