We don’t know each other, probably never will. I don’t usually read your prose, in fact never, but I am interested in what other Coyotes fans have to say. It seemed your name was coming up in an unflattering context. Again. So, I decided to let you earn a click on me as I read your blog entry “Note to Shane Doan.”
I try and make a point of keeping my blog here at least semi-classy, leaving vulgar language on the sidelines as I work my magic on this here keyboard. So it’s with great dismay I see “Get Bent” in my title. I considered using a less vulgar expression as well as many more vulgar ones and decided that “Get Bent” summarizes well what I have to say to you.
You’re wrong and Steve Nash is wrong, there is loyalty in sports. The guy you decided to write your public note to is, perhaps, the best example of loyalty in sports whether on ice (or field or court or wherever) or off ice (see previous). I’m not sure if you actually attend Coyotes games or not, and have no idea how knowledgeable you are about the sport of ice hockey. From your blog, you seem to make direct comparions between what I will call “our” sport (hockey) and baseball and basketball, and to also infer that Diamondbacks, Cardinals and Suns fans are interchangeable in their attitudes toward sport and life in general with Coyotes fans. Sure, there’s people who follow multiple sports, but please let me assure you that hockey fans are NOT like other sports fans, nor are hockey players the same as people who play other sports professionally. Even a novice observer such as yourself SHOULD be able to see that Coyotes fans, after sticking with the team for more than three years of stress and degradation, are not like other hockey fans. We just aren’t, nor is our team. “Hockey The Hard Way” is more than a slogan, it’s a way of life.
Why, you might ask, are Coyotes fans different than Suns fans? Partially you may have hit it on the nose while speaking of Shane Doan:
“But the situation in Glendale remains exhausting and absurd, from petition drives to legal wrangling to a watchdog organization whose concerns far exceed those of local residents. Anyone else would’ve lost patience with this organization years ago.”
What you fail to see is that most fans have gone through it all at the same time. Sure, our families wouldn’t be uprooted if the team left and our livelihood wouldn’t be jeopardized. We’d just lose our team. But, Dan, why are there so many of us passionate enough about our team that we jumped outside our comfort zone to politically put the kibosh on a petition signature drive? Was it for hockey? Not really, well maybe a little. Was it for the Coyotes? You’re getting warmer. Was it for OUR Captain Shane Doan?
Yeah, bingo, Dan.
Sure, you give Doaner some loyalty props, but the rest of your premise is garbage. If you look at the picture above, that’s Shane on the night he got his FIRST NHL hat trick after many years in the NHL. A hat trick, Dan, is three goals in a single game by a single person. It’s a hard thing to do, but not so hard that it was surprising that a power forward like Shane never got one.
Anyway, I was lucky enough to be sitting in our usual spot with some members of my family watching the “hat trick” game. After Doaner got his second goal, the atmosphere in the arena changed noticeably. We all knew what was at stake, and we saw that Shane was on his game. We also knew that his team felt the same electricity we did, only stronger, and we knew that every single one of them would MAKE SURE Shane got his shot at the hat trick, whatever it took. Shane’s teammates poured over the boards, got the puck where it needed to be, then poured back onto the bench forcing Doan back on the ice. Yeah, he was gassed but it didn’t matter. Call it leadership, call it team chemistry, call it whatever you will, Dan, when it’s all boiled down the root of ALL those things is loyalty. You don’t GET it unless you GIVE it. Get it, Dan?
The examples you give of Steve Nash and Justin Upton don’t have much to do with Doaner. I don’t know TOO much about either, not really being a basket or base ball fan, but as an outside observer it seemed their fan base had more to do with their skills than anything else. I would have used Gonzo as a better person to compare to Doaner, maybe, since he seemed to draw a REAL emotional connection with his fans like Shane does. So, how did they get there with the fans? Loyalty.
Who’s Shane Doan loyal to besides his family, friends, and team? Fans, for one. If you ever hung around any “appreciation night” or event like that, you could count on Shane Doan staying well past when his teammates had bailed, well past when his handlers told him to go home. If there was a fan or especially a kid left in line, Shane was there until he spent as much time with the last guy as he did with the first guy.
If you were at the airport the night the Coyotes arrived home very early Easter Sunday morning along with a bunch of fans, you would have seen loyalty. Most of the team got in their cars and began to leave, understandable after a hard game against the Hawks and a late arrival. Shane Doan, our Captain, is different. He, wearing his too small Division Championship hat on his head a little crookedly, walked over to the fence and shook every single hand that was stuck through for a handshake, with a kid’s grin on his face the whole time. He didn’t have to do that.
Doaner’s the guy who wrote checks to a bunch of unpaid schoolteachers out of his own pocket. There weren’t any cameras there. What word would you use to describe that, Dan?
You didn’t witness a room full of adult people have their eyes well up at the mention of Shane Doan leaving the Coyotes. How could you have seen it? You weren’t there and you wouldn’t “get it”. We don’t consider it a source of humor, we don’t really want to even discuss it.
So, forgive me if I’m a little sensitive after three years of ridicule from Canadian and local press being aimed at MY team. I usually just let it slide off but this is different, it’s not the Coyotes, it’s Shane Doan. Please, don’t mess with Doaner, he has a lot of brothers and sisters who sit in the stands and we all feel the same protective sense toward him. All the ridiculousness is nearly over now, and I’m sure I can bank on the fact that YOU never lifted a finger to do anything to stop the circus, instead reveling in the opportunity to parrot the Canadian hockey press with snide comments. You’ll have to find another easy target for your puerile humor in a few short weeks. Roller derby, perhaps?
So, put away the snarkiness Dan and trust that Shane Doan will get the contract he deserves with the Coyotes. You can take that to the bank. What you can also take to the bank is that Doaner is NOT like “the other guys” and we’re lucky to have him remain here as the heart of the team and the heart of the fan base.
Doaner is staying home.
So, get bent, Dan. Oh and yeah, Shane GOT that hat trick with almost NO time left on the clock and yeah it was the most amazing sports experience I have ever had in my life. You would have missed it even if you were there.