After playing 21 seasons for the Winnipeg Jets/Coyotes franchise, the 41-year-old will work closely with senior executive vice president of hockey operations Colin Campbell, who hasn’t carved out a specific set of responsibilities for Doan in his new line of work. Campbell hopes Doan can share a different perspective as a player who’s “fresh off the ice.”
“Players train differently, players think differently and Shane’s been through a lot and seen a lot of young players and seen a lot of coaches come through and seen our referees work on the ice,” Campbell said by phone Thursday. “I think he’s mature enough to give us the unbiased look and feel of the game from where he’s been and where he is now.”
Doan was drafted in 1995, started his professional career in the dead-puck era and saw plenty of changes in the sport through his 1,595 regular-season and playoff games. He spent his final 13 seasons as captain before announcing his retirement this past summer.
With an eye on his next step, Doan spent the first few nights of the season with Colin Campbell, Mike Murphy, Kris King and director of officiating Stephen Walkom in Toronto, watching games and sharing thoughts.
“He had a first-hand look,” Campbell said. “I think it was a little bit over the top for him after 20-some-odd years of just having to play the game when you look at it from that side.”
Doan, who wants to spend more time with his family, won’t have to move from Arizona. Watching games remotely, Doan will also communicate with coaches and general managers about aspects of play, rules and interpretations.
“He’ll give them a pure, unbiased, objective view,” Campbell said. “They can ask Shane what he thinks about things, and he can add his comments at meetings regarding rules and how the game is played and hopefully when we’re dealing with the competition committee and the NHL Players’ Association, they’ll respect the fact that we have Shane in-house, as well.”
Doan follows the lead of other former players who moved into the NHL office, such as Rob Blake, Brendan Shanahan, Chris Pronger and most recently George Parros. Blake is now GM of the Los Angeles Kings, Shanahan is president of the Toronto Maple Leafs and Pronger is senior advisor of hockey operations for the Florida Panthers.
Campbell encouraged Blake and now Doan to enjoy as much family time as possible before moving into a full-time, traveling hockey business job.
“There’s no better place to learn than from us here at the league,” Campbell said. “Shane’s still young when it comes to the management age of the spectrum. We’re not putting any pressures on him where he’s got to get on the road, go to the American League team, work all week long. This is a little less stressful and time-consuming than if he went right to a team.”