We never thought we'd name a hockey player best athlete in the Valley. Most sports fans around here barely knew the Phoenix Coyotes existed until their incredible run in the NHL's Western Conference playoffs last season. They lost to the Los Angeles Kings in the conference finals, but Shane Doan was a force to be reckoned with through the team's stellar season, in which they went 42-27-13. A 17-year veteran with the Winnipeg Jets-turned-Coyotes, the Yotes captain scored 50 points (22 goals and 28 assists) and his first NHL hat-trick (three goals in a game) during the season. In the playoffs, he scored nine points to lead the Coyotes to their first-ever playoff victories against Chicago and Nashville. Playing for Team Canada internationally, Doan has won two gold medals in world championships and was a member of Canada's Olympic team.
An Alberta native, Doan lives in Phoenix now. But he has entered into free agency, and there are rumors that, because of turmoil over ownership of the Glendale-based franchise, he may move on. Whether he stays or goes, he was by far our best — and winningest — athlete this year.