I caught up with Shane Doan on Friday to clarify comments that appeared in a short blog from Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman on Thursday with the headline: Shane Doan taking a ‘step back’ from role with Arizona Coyotes.
This wasn’t the first time I have had this conversation with Doan, who rejoined the Coyotes in January 2021 as chief hockey development officer after retiring as a player in 2017. I noted after the NHL Draft in Montréal in June that Doan’s contract was expiring. I updated the situation in successive mailbags in July and August, noting that: “Nothing has been announced, but I expect Shane Doan to take a step back from the organization yet still be around and involved in various capacities next season. How much could depend on how much else he has going on.”
On Friday, Doan underscored that earlier assessment.
“It’s the same thing I told you weeks ago; nothing has changed,” he said. “I’m taking a step back from some of the things I did last year on the business side, but I will still have a role with the business side and I will have an informal role with the hockey side.
“I want the Coyotes to succeed. I want this arena deal to succeed, but I’m taking a step back for other opportunities that I have going on or may have coming up, and I’m taking a step back to spend time with my wife [Andrea], to watch my son Carson play football, to watch my son Josh play hockey at ASU. And my daughters have come home and we have Sunday dinners so I don’t want to miss those nights. That’s really what it is. It’s really important to me.”
Doan’s younger daughter, Karys, is attending ASU’s Barrett Honors College, while his older daughter, Gracie, has returned home to work for a start-up while the family awaits the premiere of the movie “Stealing In Suburbia” in which she appears.
“I enjoy being able to stop by and have lunch with Karys and do stuff with her. And Gracie moved back home from California so I get to spend time with her when she calls and wants to have lunch with me,” Shane said. “I want to watch Josh’s games on Friday and Saturday. I want to watch Carson’s games on Thursday and the kids come home on Sunday for dinner.”
At the same time, Doan is keeping his options open for other opportunities that may arise. He has already served Hockey Canada in numerous capacities, most recently as its GM at the 2022 Olympics and World Championship. He also worked three years in hockey operations with the NHL before taking his current role with the Coyotes. He is part of the ownership group of the WHL’s Kamloops Blazers, he has been around NHL locker rooms for more than two decades and he loves the hockey side of things as much as ever.
I asked Doan what he would be doing for the Coyotes this season.
“I still have great communication with [team president and CEO] Xavier [Gutierrez] and I’m involved with helping in any areas that I can be involved in,” he said. “I’m sure I’ll help out with the foundation and I’ll help out with the alumni because I want that to work well for them. I want everything to work well. I am meeting with a sponsor on the 21st; having lunch with them. I’ll do whatever I can to help this franchise succeed.
“I will be supporting [GM] Bill [Armstrong] in an informal way in hockey ops. I’m going to be around.”
Gutierrez reiterated Doan’s importance to the franchise.
“Shane is still an employee of the Coyotes and an extremely valuable member of our organization,” he said. “He is extensively involved in our business operations reporting to me, and has an invaluable voice in hockey operations including a significant role in decision making. He is a valued advisor to owner Alex Meruelo on all aspects of the Coyotes, especially with our efforts around the proposed Tempe Entertainment District. However, he will be spending more time with his family and other opportunities in the future.”