Best Sports Nice Guy (2013)

Shane Doan, Phoenix Coyotes

Shane Doan tends to toss hockey pucks over the glass to adoring fans before home games. The Phoenix Coyotes forward has stuck fast with the troubled franchise when he could have bolted for more secure pastures. Last year, he won the Mark Messier Award for leadership among teammates, during games, and in the community. His charity work in the Valley's legendary. It's hard to glance at TV sports without seeing him around town helping kids, donating his time. He's a hell of a hockey player, too. Last season, the Coyotes faded from playoff contention during the second half of the season, but Doan was a major reason they had made a run the season before, losing to the L.A. Kings in the Western Conference finals. The Kings went on to win the Stanley Cup. Doan's been around since the beginning of the Yotes franchise, which started 18 years ago as the Winnipeg Jets. An Alberta native, Doan's won two gold medals in world championships and was a member of Canada's Olympic team. Doan lives year-round in Phoenix and routinely expresses his love for the Valley. A "Wild Westerner" at heart (he grew up in Canadian cowboy country), he feels right at home on horseback galloping through the desert. And now that the Coyotes are assured of staying in Glendale for at least five more years, Doan, who'll be 37 in October, could finish his playing career here. If the Coyotes are smart, they'll keep him around as long as he wants and then move him into coaching. Intelligence/leadership skills like his are hard to come by in a game where players get concussed for a living.


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