Arizona Coyotes captain Shane Doan is staying in the desert for his 21st season, as he agreed to a 1-year deal with the team with which he's spent his entire NHL career.
Doan's loyalty to the Coyotes isn't something often witnessed in pro sports -- and for that, he was mocked and scorned by a Canadian "shock jock" Tuesday morning.
Dean Blundell, a morning radio host with Sportsnet in Toronto, devoted three minutes of his show to label Doan -- a man who has conducted himself with as much honor and class as any pro athlete in recent memory -- as some sort of loser.
"Have you ever in your life seen a guy in any professional sport that likes losing as much as Shane Doan?" Blundell began. ("He loves it," his giggling sidekick promptly replied.)
Blundell continued: "I don’t know that there’s another man that’s been as good as he’s been in his sport that’s been not just OK with sucking, but looked forward to it, preferred it, took pay cuts to do it, and is staying and finishing his career in a place he knows he can’t win."
I'll be honest: I only listened to the first minute of this idiocy, and it was more than enough.
Maybe Blundell -- who expertly referred to Doan's team as the Phoenix Coyotes -- is simply trying to get some international attention with his diatribe. In that case: mission accomplished.
But let's take Blundell's comments seriously for just a moment.
Yes, Doan's loyalty -- especially to a team that has had more losing than winning seasons -- is something rarely seen in professional sports. Tim Duncan retired after 19 seasons with the same team, but his time in San Antonio included five world championships.
Aside from a 2012 Western Conference Finals appearance, the Coyotes haven't gotten out of the first round of the playoffs since moving to the Valley in 1996 -- and they haven't advanced to the postseason since that 2012 campaign.
Based on that, Blundell believes Doan is content with mediocrity on a team destined for another losing season. But that assertion in itself is shortsighted.
Thanks to an infusion of young talent, the Coyotes enjoyed a 22-point improvement last season over the previous year. They've signed some impressive free agents, such as veteran forward Jamie McGinn and defenseman Alex Goligoski. And they boast arguably the best, most talented group of prospects in the NHL.
"I'm excited about what the team has done and encouraged by some of the (free-agent) signings," Doan told ArizonaSports.com's Craig Morgan last week.
But Doan's decision to stay goes deeper than that. He and his wife Andrea have four children: two sons and two daughters. His oldest daughter will be 18 in December. In 2012, Doan considered retiring after his then 7-year-old daughter was mauled by a dog.
Nothing is more important than family to Shane, and his wife and children are clearly comfortable in Arizona.
But according to the Blundell show, this is an unhealthy perspective.
"Is this what we want from our athletes, for them to be comfortable?" Blundell's sidekick rhetorically asked.
Hot take, dude. Here's a hotter one.
The Doans have constantly faced the same difficult questions many "ordinary" families face. Should we uproot our family in order to pursue another opportunity elsewhere? Should we leave behind our home, our friends, our kids' schools, our church? Will doing so be a net positive for our family in the long-term?
"I stated a family fairly young. I've got a 17-year-old daughter and a 14-year-old son, and their lives have all been in Phoenix," Doan told NHL Network on Tuesday.
Faith also plays an important role in the Doan family. Shane is a strong Christian who has never shied away from discussing his beliefs, and he even runs the Coyotes' chapel. These decisions to stay or move are undoubtedly made after a commitment to prayer.
For the Doans, the answer has always been to remain in Arizona, where they've lived for two decades -- a much longer stretch than many Valley residents who have since become Coyotes fans.
Thanks to the allure of more money elsewhere, few pro athletes remain loyal to a single franchise for their entire careers. There's nothing wrong with that, but for Shane Doan and his family, there are other, more important factors in play.
For that, Doan and the Arizona Coyotes deserve better than disdain and derision from some shock jock and his giggling sidekick on the other side of the continent.