It has been more than two decades, but the Arizona Coyotes’ Shane Doan remembers skating alongside past Coyotes as a teenager. Keith Tkachuk, Teppo Numminen, Kris King, Dave Manson and the Shannon brothers, Darrin and Darryl, helped him transition to the NHL when the franchise was still in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
Doan remembers his first coach, the strict but fair Terry Simpson.
And he will never forget that when he was a rookie, all of them looked after him.
“It’s funny, when I’m in the room with them (current rookies), I feel like a young guy — like I’m a rookie again,” said Doan, now 40 and a veteran of 21 NHL seasons.
The fresh faces inside the Coyotes locker room are different now, but the dynamic is the same. In what might have been his final season, Doan wore the sweater with a captain’s “C” just as Tkachuk once did.
“I think that’s one of the best parts of our sport,” Doan said. “It’s a big tradition, the veteran guys taking care of the young guys. It’s weird because the young guys are going to take your job. Yet you still want to help them. So it’s one of those weird dynamics.”
With Doan as their mentor, the latest collection of Coyotes rookies made their own memories on and off the ice during the 2016-17 season.
“We are probably one of the youngest teams in the league,” said winger Lawson Crouse, one of those rookies. “The veteran guys have made it comfortable for us to come in here and be our own person. They’ve kind of given us that freedom of learning on the go.”
Nine Coyotes players made their NHL debut with the team during the season.
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