By Ethan Greni
For an entire generation, the name Doan was synonymous with not only the Arizona Coyotes but desert hockey as a whole. Shane Doan became the face of Arizona hockey through his excellent play on the ice and diligent community work.
Now, his son, Josh, is doing his best to honor that legacy as he prepares for his first season at ASU this fall.
“I think coming back home, having a chance to play at home in the desert again, is something special,” Josh says. “Not a lot of kids get the opportunity, especially from the West Coast, to play college hockey at home, and then also what coach (Greg) Powers has done with that group, and the name he’s made for ASU hockey, is something special, and I want to be a part of it.”
The 19-year-old spent the last two years with the Chicago Steel in the USHL, the country’s top junior hockey league.
“I love it. It’s been awesome. It’s helped me develop so much on the ice, but also off the ice,” Josh says. “The coaches here, they treat us well, and they want to do everything possible to help us get better and move on to the next level.”
Toward the end of his impressive sophomore season in Chicago, Josh signed a National Letter of Intent to play at ASU on April 12, after verbally committing to the Sun Devils in 2019.
“I think it’s a new program that’s looking to get better, and they’re already a good program in college hockey … but they’re always striving to get better,” Josh says. “That’s something you like to see: a school that’s looking to be one of the top 10 schools every year and wants to compete for a national title. The winning culture that they’ve created is something special.”
After going 43-24-4 over the prior two seasons and reaching their first NCAA Tournament in 2019, the Sun Devils finished 7-16-3 in 2020-21.
With a new arena on the horizon, Josh says he’s confident ASU can be competitive again.
“I really like the (team’s) chances,” he says. “You look at the guys they brought in last year, who were ranked in the top five as an incoming class. Some of the guys I’m coming in with are really exceptional players,” Josh says.
“And then the guys coming back for their extra year because of COVID are great. It’s looking to be a really strong team.”
Another incoming freshman worth noting is Jackson Niedermayer, son of Hockey Hall of Famer Scott Niedermayer. In its short time as a Division 1 program, ASU has recruited the sons of several former NHL players, including hockey legend Mario Lemieux’s son Austin, who played at ASU from 2018-20 after redshirting his freshman year.
Josh isn’t naïve to the fact that his name carries a lot of weight in Arizona. He says he knows there will be expectations, but he’s not worried.
“I try not to think about it too much,” he says. “I don’t think expectations have been anything that’s bothered me growing up. I think once you get to a certain point in your hockey career, everyone’s going to carry expectations. It’s just how you deal with it.
“I think my dad has done a good job of helping me deal with it, knowing at the end of the day it’s a game and you’re just there to have fun. So, I think as long as I can keep that mentality, I can kind of keep (the expectations) in the back of my head.”
Aside from his father, Josh has been grounded by his Steel coaches.
“What the coaches have done for me here is something that I cherish, and I want to thank them for it,” Josh says.
“When I got here, I was a young guy looking just to get in the lineup. They’ve now developed me into a player who can make it to the next level now.” CT