Monday, August 31, 2009

Shane Doan on the Phoenix Situation

Shane Doan is one of those individuals who wears his heart on his sleeve. A true ambassador, you can take anything he has to say at face value. At the Team Canada orientation camp in Calgary on August 26, Doan was candid with his opinions on the Phoenix ownership saga. You know the story: Jim Balsillie wants to buy the team and move it to Hamilton and the NHL is trying to do everything in its power to stop him. Jerry Reinsdorf enters the picture as a possible bidder; then the NHL decides it will put in a bid so it can control who the future owner will be. It will all be hashed out in court in a couple weeks’ time.

Here is Doan’s take on the whole situation:

“Nothing would be better than on September 10 it all gets figured out. Until that happens, it’s just going to be more questions. It seems that every time something happens, there are more questions and more uncertainty.

“For us as a player, there’s nothing you can really say, oh this is it, or that’s it. It’s always, well tomorrow I’m going to be in Phoenix and practicing. I’ll be going to the rink and playing there until they tell me otherwise.

“We’re trying to get information from everybody, but it’s hard, because up until two days ago, everyone was kind of thinking that Reinsdorf was the guy that was in the lead. A lot of people, including myself, will talk like you do know stuff. Really, you don’t. Anyone you talk to is saying, this is the way it is. Two days later, it turns out that’s not the way it is.

“The city of Winnipeg went through it, where the team was moving and everyone was gone. We came back – just kidding – for one more year. It was tough on everybody. It was tough on the fans. At the end of the year, there wasn’t a lot of people at the games. We had a pretty good team and made the playoffs. But the playoffs were unbelievable. It was the loudest and most incredible atmosphere I’ve ever been in. In Phoenix, it will be the same thing. If we’re able to win, people will come out and cheer for us. If we’re able to make the playoffs, they’ll come out and support us. It’s really going to come down to the players and the organization.

“The city of Phoenix, the valley, it’s been great if we win. When we won for the first few years, the fans were great. Then in the middle of that, we changed cities because we moved out to Glendale. Obviously that affected our fan base considerable because it’s a fair jaunt from there. And then to top it off, we haven’t won. You can’t blame the fans or the city or the area one bit for the fact that we haven’t won. But if you win in Phoenix, they’ll support you. The Cardinals were notorious for being one of the bottom teams. Now they’re one of the hottest teams in the NFL.

“I’ve been there for 14 years. It becomes more personal for me as a player because I know all the security guards. I know all the trainers, all the people that do the equipment, that do the PR. You get to know everybody, and those people are losing their jobs. It really affects you as a person – your friends. It affects the people around you. Immediately, it affects your kids, your wife. As a player, you understand it, but when it gets personal like that, it makes it tougher. This has been my home for a long time. At the same time, I just play hockey.

“Yea, it is stressful at times. My daughter’s ten and she’s been in the same school for the last five years. All her friends live right around her. She hears things and asks things. Are we moving, are we not? What’s going on, dad? And you don’t know anything. You don’t want to say no we’re not because if you do then you feel like you’re a liar. At the same time, you don’t want to tell her yea we are because she’ll be upset. She doesn’t want to leave her friends. My seven-year-old son is playing hockey. That’s where it affects you. And then on top of that, the other people – our trainers, the PR department, all those guys – those are my friends. It’s going to affect them drastically. I’m sure it’s a lot more stressful for them. The players – we can play hockey pretty much anywhere, but those guys, you feel for them and feel for the people that supported us in the last 14 years. They don’t get any attention. The same group of guys always get asked if it’s stressful.”

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