Former Arizona Coyotes forward Shane Doan is done playing professional hockey.
Doan, 40, who was told on June 17 that the Coyotes were not interested in bringing him back for a 22nd season, announced his decision in a letter to the fans published Wednesday in the Arizona Republic.
“I could not fathom at the time that I would end up playing in Arizona for the next 21 years, raise a family and call this place home,” Doan wrote. “But that’s exactly what happened. And that’s why this has been one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make. I’m retiring from the NHL.”
“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.”
Thus ends a 21-year career spent entirely with the Coyotes/Winnipeg Jets franchise that saw Doan establish himself as the franchise’s goodwill ambassador during its many ups and downs after it relocated to Arizona in 1996. He holds virtually every meaningful team record — including games played (1,540), goals (402), assists (570) and points (972).
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
The Coyotes issued the following statement regarding Doan’s retirement announcement.
“On behalf of the entire Arizona Coyotes organization, our fans and our corporate partners, we would like to thank Shane for everything that he’s done for our franchise over the past 21 years. Shane had an incredible career on the ice and we are very proud of everything that he accomplished in a Coyotes uniform. He will be remembered as one of the greatest captains in NHL history. Off the ice, Shane was a great ambassador for growing the game of hockey in Arizona and his contributions to the community are immeasurable. Shane will be a Coyote for life. Thank you Captain!”
Here is Shane Doan’s season-ending address to the fans at Gila River Arena in April.
Doan’s impact not only in Arizona but the hockey community as a whole was reflected in the social media response to his announcement.
Congrats to my teammate and great friend Shane Doan on an amazing career. The best player in @ArizonaCoyotes history! Enjoy retirement. #19
— Jeremy Roenick (@Jeremy_Roenick) August 30, 2017
A dedicated role model, leader & teammate. Congratulations to Shane Doan on 21 seasons of playing the game the right way – enjoy retirement! pic.twitter.com/nNZjSOgBUh
— NHLPA (@NHLPA) August 30, 2017
There’s a spot on hockey’s Mt. Rushmore of great people awaiting Shane Doan. Thanks Captain for the front row seat and your impact in AZ.
— Matthew McConnell (@mattycoyotestv) August 30, 2017
Congrats on an incredible @NHL career Shane Doan. You are a gentleman off the ice, and a competitor every time you stepped on the ice.
— Darren R Pang (@Panger40) August 30, 2017
— The Hockey News (@TheHockeyNews) August 30, 2017
Congrats to friend of HMI, Shane Doan on his retirement after 21 seasons in the NHL! pic.twitter.com/ROndsz92pa
— Hockey Ministries (@_HMI_) August 30, 2017
Source: Fox Sports