CALGARY – Even though the NHL’s bid to purchase the Phoenix Coyotes caught captain Shane Doan by surprise, it has left him hopeful the team might be staying in the desert.
The league’s US$140-million bid to take control of the money-losing franchise was made with hopes of keeping it in Phoenix. The process has been taxing on all of the team’s employees – from coach Wayne Gretzky to the players to the staff.
“You feel for everybody,” Doan said Wednesday at Canada’s Olympic orientation camp. “Wayne gets a lot of the attention and it probably puts a lot of undue pressure on him, but you feel for everybody. I’ve got to know a lot of people pretty personally in the organization that are on pins and needles.
“From the training staff to the security guys to our PR guys – those guys are waiting to see if they have jobs. That’s a lot of pressure.”
Doan is an original member of the Coyotes franchise and has enjoyed raising his family in the city. He also remembers a time when the team was more popular in the market and argues that any franchise that has struggled for so long would be having a hard time attracting fans.
“You can’t blame the fans or the city or the area one bit for the fact that we haven’t won,” said Doan. “Not to be rude or anything, but when Calgary was struggling and hadn’t made the playoffs in a while, I’m from around here, people had season-tickets and weren’t showing up to games.
“Now if you went seven years without making the playoffs (like Phoenix), or not even come close, you’d see what any hockey city would be like, especially when you have so many (entertainment) options like Phoenix.”
More than anything, Doan is looking forward to the situation being resolved.
Bankruptcy judge Redfield T. Baum has scheduled a hearing for Sept. 2 to determine whether to uphold the NHL’s rejection of Jim Balsillie’s $212.5-million bid that is contingent on a move to Hamilton.
If Baum decides to ignore a vote by the league’s board of governors, Balsillie could participate in a Sept. 10 auction for the Coyotes.
Even though that could also be the day the league ends up winning the right to purchase the franchise, Doan senses it won’t be the end of the ownership saga.
“I’m sure on Sept. 10, something new will come up, and when it does we’ll figure that out,” he said. “Nothing will be better (than when) it all gets figured out. Until then, it’s just more questions. It seems every time something happens, there seems to be more questions and more uncertainty.
“Hopefully on Sept. 10, there able to solidify so we have an idea which direction we’re going. Maybe the league coming in will help that happen quicker.”