PHOENIX – For Arizona sports fans, Doan is a legendary name.
Shane Doan, former Arizona Coyotes captain, was selected seventh overall in the 1995 NHL entry draft by the Winnipeg Jets organization. When the team relocated to Phoenix in 1996, Doan became the face of hockey in the desert. He played just over two decades before the Coyotes retired his number in 2019.
Doan, who is now Chief Hockey Development Officer for the Coyotes, is remembered by fans for more than just his achievements on the ice. He was, and still is, an integral part of hockey in the desert.
But now, there is a new Doan in the desert to watch.
Josh Doan signed his national letter of intent to play hockey at Arizona State in the fall.
Josh, 19, grew up in Arizona. One of Shane and Andrea’s four kids, he learned to skate as soon as he was able to walk. He watched all of his dad’s games and knew early on he wanted to play hockey.
“From the time I was little, hockey has always been my life,” Josh said. “When I was younger I used to cry when my dad’s teammates got traded or when his team lost. I don’t think I had any toys that didn’t relate to hockey. It was all I cared about.”
And growing up in the Valley, his life revolved around the sport.
Josh would go from school to hockey practice to watch his dad’s games. Any free time he had, he would spend shooting pucks in the garage or playing “mini sticks.”
“It’s so cool to be able to follow in my dad’s footsteps,” Josh said.
He may have some big skates to fill, but he does not see that as a challenge.
In the small but growing Arizona hockey community, Josh has always been recognized by his last name. He played in the Junior Coyotes club program through high school, wearing a “C” and No. 19 on his jersey, just like his dad.
In 2017, Josh was drafted by the Kamloops Blazers in the Western Hockey League, the same organization his dad spent three seasons with at the beginning of his professional career. But Josh decided not to play in Kamloops.
“My dad and I followed pretty similar paths,” he said. “But ultimately I chose to play juniors in the U.S. and he played in Canada.”
He settled on the United State Hockey League, instead of in the WHL, so he could maintain his college eligibility. If Josh played on the Kamloops Blazers he would not be able to play NCAA college hockey.
So at 17, Josh transferred from Scottsdale’s Notre Dame Prep High School to online classes and moved across the country to Chicago.
It’s a decision that has ultimately paid off as he will make his college debut as a Sun Devils player later this year.
The 6-foot-3, 180 pound forward is playing his second season for the Chicago Steel in the USHL, where he has notched 65 points in 50 games, including 27 goals, suggesting his work ethic is setting him apart. He is ranked third in the league for points.
“I think something that has helped me grow as a hockey player is being able to learn from my dad and ask him questions about the game or experiences that he had,” Josh said.
After Shane retired from playing hockey, he was able to coach Josh. “That’s when I really got to learn more from him, and his leadership really encouraged me,” Josh said.
Not only does Josh look up to the player Shane was on the ice, but he also looks up to his dad as a role model in all aspects of life.
“Growing up, I saw how hard my dad worked and how much he enjoyed the game,” Josh said. “But I also saw what a good teammate he was and how he treated everyone in his life. That is something I have carried into my life today.”
Shane is remembered for staying hours after games to sign autographs, taking time to talk to any fan who approached him and for being a friend to everyone. And with Josh, the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree.
“Josh is just a good guy to be around,” said Sam Deckhut, Josh’s former teammate from the Junior Coyotes.
“He always has a big smile on his face and is trying to make everyone feel good about themselves. If you ask any of his teammates they would say the same thing. He puts everyone in front of himself, he is a really selfless guy.”
That sentiment seems to be universal.
“I first met Josh during summer skates a few years ago,” said Jan Jenik, who plays for the Tucson Roadrunners. “I didn’t know a lot of people in Arizona at the time, but Josh and I instantly became friends. He is just one of those guys that you can always count on.
“I am so excited that he is coming back to Arizona, I think that this is a huge opportunity for him. His hard work and commitment is really showing with the season he is having right now.”
After spending two years in Chicago, Josh is not the only one who is excited that he will be back in the desert.
“We are so excited that Josh is going to play at ASU,” said Andrea Doan, Josh’s mom. “He has the opportunity to play in the state that he was born and raised in. And that is something that is really special to his whole family.”
Spending the 2021 season on the road, the Sun Devils went 7-16-3. Josh is one of five freshmen who will join the team in the fall.
While his mom, dad and siblings will be front row cheering him on next season, Josh will also have decades of Coyotes fans watching him continue his dad’s legacy in the desert.