Josh Doan can have a little more fun this year.
The son of former Arizona Coyotes captain Shane Doan faced high expectations last summer just because of his last name. When the Coyotes selected him in the second round of the NHL Draft, he knew he had to make an impression.
“Last year it was a little more pressure, and this year it’s just for fun,” Doan said Tuesday during the Coyotes’ development camp at the Ice Den in Scottsdale. “It’s just another practice at the end of the day. You’re here to improve, and when you look at it like that, it’s not really a pressure.”
Cementing his father’s legacy and wearing the Coyotes jersey was important to him, but he forged his own path last season at Arizona State. Knowing what he is capable of at a higher level gave him more confidence, especially as he became the best freshman in ASU’s fledgling history.
Doan exceeded expectations and set school records for most points (37) and assists (25) by a freshman. He was named a finalist for the Tim Taylor Rookie of the Year Award.
“Confidence was a huge thing for me,” Doan said. “Coach (Greg) Powers gave me the opportunity to be successful last year and for me to do what I did, I couldn’t have done it without my teammates last year. Colin Theisen, who is now with the Tucson Roadrunners, Demetrios Koumontzis, Jack Becker, they gave me the opportunity to be where I was last year.
His season showed the current change for ASU hockey, a program still on the rise in its eighth season in NCAA Division I. Ranked 37th overall, he became the highest-drafted ASU player. Doan will be one of the best players to skate for the Sun Devils in the first season with a new arena as ASU ushers in a new era for its program.
Doan’s plans for his future this season at ASU aren’t set in stone; he might be eligible to join the Coyotes organization.
“There’s no way I can say where I’ll be next year. I tried to pace myself and see where I end up,” Doan said. Coyotes and seeing where I am physically and mentally. It is both their choice and my choice. There are so many paths you can take and ultimately what ASU is doing right now is not the worst option to grow there and I think I’m taking it day by day.
Doan used his slight experience advantage to help new faces in camp, like Logan Cooley. The Coyotes’ third pick in the 2022 draft is currently hosted by Doan and gives him a welcoming presence in Arizona. The two will meet again Nov. 25-26, when ASU meets Minnesota, where Cooley is committed to playing this season.
“I think it’s definitely circled on the schedule,” Doan said. “I have it, and (Maple Leafs prospect and Phoenix native) Matthew Knies, my buddy from here. We’re excited for this game, and I think we’re ready to show that we’re a team that can compete with those kind of teams, so it should be a fun weekend.”
In a twist of fate, Doan could potentially play at the same rink where he played in college for the Coyotes. This season, he will enjoy NHL games there as a spectator thanks to its proximity to the campus.
“As a fan, you get the best possible experience watching hockey. You see (Clayton) Keller 20 feet away, you’re not going to get that experience,” Doan said. “On the ASU side, everything is upgraded for us and it’s top of the line.”
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