Note To Dan Bickley: Get Bent


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.

Photo by Norm Hall, from Phoenix Coyotes web site

We love this guy

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.

That's our Captain

We love this guy

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.



  1. AZ Schmi says

    That could not have been said any finer, George. Not one syllable is misplaced, nor is one needed that could any better have expressed how all of the Coyotes fans feel about Doaner.

    The Hat Trick was one of many highlights of last season, but as I have been to every Coyotes home game since they have come to the Valley, it was in especially the top highlight for a Shane Doan fan. That puck went in at 0:00.01 “officially”, since it was post-the NHL changing to how the countdown clock is configured for such matters. As close as it can be…and count.

    Bickley is seldom at games, or so I gather. He’s no Dave Zorn, who I see enter the building routinely. Saw Bickley go in for some playoff games….that’s to be expected. He takes his bandwagon out for a spin when he thinks it merits.

    If Bickley had anything that represented Cajones (is that a Cobb / Jones acronym?) he would do some investigative journalism and get to the bottom of the Goldwater / Kendrick sinful marriage. But other than women doing it to him, I suppose he doesn’t take kindly to having doors slammed in his puss.

    I’ll say what you are too classy to….

    Bickley, you’re nothing but a Chicago dooche.

    ‘Nuff said.

  2. Couldn’t have said it better, I teared up a little George!!! Doaner is and always will be a Coyote. He’s an amazing person, and we are so fortunate to have him as our team captain!!!

  3. Wow this article brings it home for us!! I remember being at the airport to greet the team. Very hot afternoon, the guys all got into their air conditioned cars and left. All for Shane Doan and Mike Smith. Smith is my favorite Coyote all due to his character. However when you see Doan and Smith together off the ice the respect you see from Mike is tremendous!!! Most everyone fans an team had already left. I was standing their looking at Shane. I thanked him and started to cry like a baby. Shane actually put his arms in the gate to reach me enough to give me a big ahh and hug!! I am sorry I just do not see Dustin Brown or Wayne Gretzky doing this. His home is Phoenix,he believes in his fans as we the fans believe in him. No doubt our lil Coyote team was a force to be recond with last season. I do not see it stopping now. NHL better watch out for us!! We are no longer a team that was created by old rich guys for an investment hobby. The pack is staying, with are leader Shane Doan!!!

  4. Outstanding George! Excellently written. Keep up the awesome work you are doing!

  5. Shane Doan is not like any other player in the NHL. His character is not the same character that I see in Brown, Crosby, Ovechkin, Callahan, etc. Shane has a uniqueness to him. He has played his entire NHL career on one team, for one of the lowest pay in the league. I rememeber the first time I met Doan, at the Coyotes Meet and Greet. I rememeber walking down the line and seeing Doan up ahead. Being that close, I was star struck. When it was my turn to meet him, I was still struck, but how he introduced himself and asked about how I was put me into a comfort zone. I wish I was the only one in line, so I couldve spoken with him all day.

  6. looks like a case of preaching to the choir.

    Looks like you lost me after the 2nd paragraph where you said you usually don’t do this. I usually don’t fall asleep

    • Sorry you feel that way, Dan. I’m a little surprised you fall asleep reading just as you do while writing.

      Go figure.

  7. Rhonda & Roy Patrick says

    George, Thank you so much for this article. I was so upset when I read Bickley’s STUPID article this morning. We are Canadians (please do not hold that against us). We have had season tickets for the Coyotes for 4 years. Coyotes are the reason we bought in Phoenix as we love hockey and Shane Doan. He is a Coyote tried & true. He has always played for Canada internationally as well (we love him for that too). Shane is just the best, never gives up on the ice, a roll model for your children, a true gentleman. We cheer on his victories and share when it does not work out. He has never put the dollar first. That was evident when he signed his last contract with the Yotes. He could then have more elsewhere. He chose to stay. We feel he will retire a Coyote and I am sure like Shane, we are praying for it.

  8. Bravo George! Bravo!!

  9. Bravo George! I too remember meeting Doaner for the first time. It was at a fan appreciation event at Tempe town lake. I was “star struck” meeting my all time favorite player, I was so nervous, I dropped everything I had in my hands. After helping me pick it all up, Shane put his arm around me and said, “here, I will help you be steady”‘ for our picture to be taken. Lol, let me tell you, I cherish that photo! I live out of state right now, but I have center ice package just so I don’t miss a coyote’s game. Flew back for 1st and 2nd game of second round last season! Cost me thousands but to see my Yotes and more importantly, Shane finally make it to 2nd round, something Dan wouldn’t understand, i would have paid anything! He needs to leave our Coyotes alone and write about something he knows about. Oh wait, he doesn’t know about anything sports related but bandwagoning!

  10. Peter Puck says

    Brilliant!! Bickhead is well deserving of this article and every comment listed below it. His lack of understanding the hockey world is evident and his public undressing is funny as hell to watch. I have been a season ticket holder for 9 years and have NEVER seen his face near He doesn’t understand the CULTure of our sport, he just mocks what he doesn’t understand and now he pays the price.

    His editor should share the public’s ridicule for letting Bick’s comments get published. Did you head out for lunch and throw Bickhead the keys to the asylum? You should both be sentenced to the Ice Den for the next three months to figure things out.

  11. great one george I love doaner we can’t lose are CAPATIN

  12. Big Zerb says

    Professional sports groups around the country boast about how Phoenix is not a “true” sports hot spot when it comes to fan dedication and loyalty. I beg to differ. Shane Doan is a great example of why and the way to loyalty between fans and a professional sports team. The backbone of the Coyotes and the fan base that loyally surrounds him and his team. He has done a lot of things as even just an individual, that most just don’t have “the time” to do, in the community. I’ve read Bickley’s articles since I was a little kid. He’s always been the pessimistic type a lot of the time. Shane doesn’t want to go, it’s obvious. He just wants final answers and stability. Probably an emotion he echo’s not only for just himself and family, but his fans and team as well. A true leader would feel as such for those around him. I hope he stays.


  1. […] HOWLINHOCKEY.COM/NEBULOUS VERBOSITY: Two opinions suggesting Shane Doan ignore an Arizona Republic sportswriter calling for him to leave while he still can, and finish his career with the Coyotes. […]