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Untold Gold: Josh Doan discusses hockey journey and upcoming ASU season

Josh Doan's dream became a reality when he got selected 37th overall in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft

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The State Press takes a deeper look at the stories of ASU athletes, discovering the journey behind their accomplishments. Illustration originally published Wednesday, Sept. 29, 2021.

State Press Reporter Austin Scott sits down with Sun Devil hockey freshman forward Josh Doan, to discuss his hockey journey, the impact his dad – Arizona Coyotes legend Shane Doan – had on him and how his dream became a reality when he was drafted by his hometown team.


Ladies and gentlemen, my name is Austin Scott and welcome to the first episode of Untold Gold, a podcast from the State Press where we will be sharing the stories of ASU's finest athletes for weeks to come.

To start off these untold stories, we're lucky to have an amazing athlete joining us to tell his journey about how he became a Sun Devil and what the road looks like ahead. 

Or in this case, I guess we can say what the ice looks like ahead.

ASU men's hockey freshmen forward Josh Doan was recently selected 37th overall in the NHL Entry Draft by the Arizona Coyotes, which is the highest in Sun Devil hockey program history. 

He was also born and raised right here in the Phoenix area, and for those of you who are hockey fans out there, he's also the son of former Coyote legend Shane Doan. 

Now, with his first collegiate hockey game less than a week away, Josh, it's a pleasure to have you on the show. Thanks for taking the time out of your day to join us and how's everything been going for you, man?


Yeah, thanks for having me guys. It's been good the last couple of days and I'm looking forward to next weekend and finally getting in those first couple of games under my belt and I'm just super excited.


Yeah that's exciting stuff, man. So I got a few questions to ask you. I'll just kind of hop right into it and we'll get started.


Sounds good.


All right. So, I'll kind of just start off with this question — I love to ask any athlete this question no matter what level of play they're at: growing up as a kid, what sports did you play? 

Was there anything besides hockey or did you play, you know, baseball, soccer, basketball, were there other sports you played growing up as a kid?


Yeah, I think that was the biggest thing for me growing up was my parents made sure we played every sport. 

So, I grew up playing hockey, soccer, baseball and golf and tennis. So, kind of all the basics. 

My mom played tennis and golf growing up so she had us do that and then the other two are pretty common sports we played. But up until I was 13 years old, I played competitive soccer and traveled so, my mom made me make a decision that I either had to pick hockey or soccer at that age and it was a no brainer for me at the time. 

I love hockey so much more than soccer, and I'm very happy I made that decision.


After playing tennis and some other sports, it ultimately kind of came down to soccer and hockey, but it was just kind of like a no brainer for you.

Did you kind of know that hockey was your sport growing up or did it take until you were around like that 12, 13 year range to kind of know hockey was your route?


Yeah, I think growing up hockey was always number one in my life, on the sports side. 

I played soccer and all those other sports, but at the end of the day, when I'd go home the only thing I'd really do is grab a mini stick or a hockey stick and just rip around the house with one of those.

So, I kind of knew growing up that hockey was a sport I was going to pursue if I was going to pick a sport. 

So, I don't know, it's something I always loved and grew up doing with my family and it kind of just stuck with me my whole life.


Awesome. I mean, it quite literally does run in the family. So, you know, definitely it makes sense.

Just like your father, you choosing hockey as your main sport and also getting drafted by the Coyotes — how has your father Shane and yourself kind of been able to make sure that this is your own path, if that makes sense, and just kind of talk about the dynamic between you and Shane as you've gone throughout your career with hockey and what kind of impact he's made on you.


Yeah, it's been awesome having him in my back corner my whole life. Obviously, he's been around the game and knows better than anyone. So, having him to rely on and ask questions has been big for me. 

But, I think it kind of started when I was younger, he told me that hockey's a game for me to have fun and play and if I like it, then it's my choice to continue to play. And if I don't like it, then I have the freedom to pick another sport. 

So, he kind of gave me that freedom of it's my choice to play hockey, which I think is why it's one of the reasons I fell more in love with it. 

And then, part of the reason I picked college hockey is to kind of set myself onto a different path and ASU gave me the opportunity to stay home and do that. And obviously the program they've created now is exceptional. 

So, having the ability to do that, and separate myself from my dad in that way, is as what we kind of look at it as. And then I think I'm just fortunate enough to come back to the Coyotes and just a huge honor for me to kind of tie it all together and start my career where he finished and played his whole career.


Do you and your dad kind of do anything, even right now, just like at home? Do you guys watch hockey games together? Do you guys like ever run drills together? 

What are some of the kind of things you do off the ice, and not related to Sun Devil hockey?


Yeah, I think we're both hockey nerds. So, whenever there's a game on and I'm home, it's the first thing we turn on is the hockey game and we'll pause stuff and go back and re-watch things to kind of break down the game.

And then, we get on the ice during the summer, probably three or four times a week together where we kind of just collaborate and he kind of tells me what to do and then I'll ask him questions and kind of bounce ideas off of him to see if something else would work. 

So, it's been awesome having him to do that with because, obviously, his career was super successful and he likes to try new things with me because he wants to better me. And he thinks it's funny that some of the stuff I think is just a new era of hockey that he never would have tried, and he loves the new ideas. So, it's been fun.


That's a really cool dynamic kind of being from two different generations of hockey. That's really cool. 

So, let's dive a little bit into your hockey career previously to being a Sun Devil.

I know you grew up playing for the Phoenix Junior Coyotes program, and then you eventually joined the Chicago Steel of the United States Hockey League. 

So, if you can just kind of briefly touch on both of those experiences and how each one sort of got you to the point at which you're at right now. 


Yeah, I think both of them played huge, huge factors in my hockey career. 

I think starting off with the Junior Coyotes organization right from the beginning — they're awesome — the development there has been huge. And you can kind of see, with my age group at least, there's a couple of big name guys that are all playing at the highest level. 

I think it's just growing. Obviously, now there's the Junior Sun Devils, the Junior Coyotes, the Bobcat's, like, the list goes on of teams that are competitive amongst youth hockey. 

And I think that kind of started when I was younger with that standard of development. 

And then when I went to Chicago, it was kind of a game changer for me. I think the way they took me in and brought me into the organization as a smaller guy, they kind of told me that I wasn't going to play a lot my first year, and that was a tough decision to make knowing that I wasn't going to play as much, but it was going to be better for me in the next couple of years.

So, they do what's best for their players in Chicago. And it shows right now with the success that they've had, and even the success of the guys that are in the front office there with all of them signing and moving on to the NHL. So I think both places were huge for my career and I wouldn't really be here without either one of them. 


Are there any players on either the Junior Coyotes or the Chicago Steel that you kind of keep in touch with, that you're pretty good friends with, to this day?


Yeah, the Junior Coyotes, Matthew Knies is one of my good buddies who plays up at the University of Minnesota now. Riley Stuart, who comes in next year and will be a freshman at ASU, he's another one that I'm really close with. And then Sam Deckhut and Jake Alcaraz out are two of my best friends that I grew up playing with at the Junior Coyotes. 

And then in Chicago, I think that's a tight group. We were pretty fortunate to be together during the COVID year. We all grew pretty close. So, any one of those guys that you named off that team, I'd say I keep in touch with daily now. So, I don't know. That was a fun experience with them. 


Yeah, that's awesome. All right. Let's kind of talk about this summer, July 24th, 2021, it's kind of the day you got selected by the Coyotes in the draft. 

Talk about where you were, who you were with and how was that overall moment for you?


Yeah, it was a pretty cool moment. I was at the World Junior Camp in Michigan, so we just got off the ice after practice in the morning. 

And I was sitting in the locker next to my good friend, Mackie Samoskevich, who I played with in Chicago. And, we kind of had it up on our phones, just following the draft on the tracking app. 

And then my name popped up and we kind of laughed like, what, like it was kind of an odd moment. Like what, what do you do now? And he just stood up and gave me a hug and a couple of other guys that had just got to know, came over and then gave me knocks and everything. 

And then, I got ready and went upstairs and my mom was there and she came and gave me a hug and my two siblings. So, it was a pretty cool moment with them. And I think my mom was happier than anyone that it was Arizona.


Yeah, definitely. So, for you personally, did you kind of go into that draft, like blind? Did you not really know who was going to pick you or did you kind of have like a select few teams that knew were interested in you? 

Like, how shocked or surprised or unsurprised were you when you heard the Coyotes picked you?


Yeah, it was definitely an interesting and different experience with most guys — being someone who already went through the draft, and went undrafted — and no one kind of knew where I stood, whether it was going to be where I went or fell down to the later rounds. 

And, I think once the draft kind of came upon us, we were looking and talking to my advisor, my family, and we knew there was a good idea that I'd go around where Arizona picked me.

And I think when I saw it was Arizona, I couldn't have been any more happier than I was. Like, deep down, you tell all the teams that you'd be happy anywhere but I think Arizona is the place that personally makes me the happiest to go to, since I'm more of a fan than anything when it comes to them.


Yeah, I imagine that almost must be like a dream come true. It's kind of like when you're playing like, NHL or like any sports game, and you make your own player and you randomly get drafted by your favorite team. You know what I mean? That must've been such a cool moment for you. 

And then, I know you recently just did a development camp with the Coyotes in mid-September, talk about that. 

I know we talked about that actually, like a week ago, but just kind of reemphasized how those four days were for you. The connections you were able to make with the players and the coaches and how that overall experience was for you?


Yeah, that was awesome. I think the way they ran it was so perfectly done with bringing all the guys in and getting them close to each other so that we're all good buddies now.

I think the guys that you met there are guys that you're going to be working with possibly for a long time and, hopefully, for a long time. 

So, it was nice to get to meet all of them. And then the coaching staff was awesome. I think the way they set it up for us, the development side of it, just kind of getting us in there so they know what they need to work on with us throughout the year was huge, especially for me just having the ability to go work and skate with them. 

So then, they can give me stuff to take back to ASU and work on which is something that I'm going to take with me. I think just the whole thing was awesome and super fun. It's an incredible opportunity to go into that rink, in the locker room and then get a chance to finally be officially a part of the team.


Yeah. Was it overwhelming in any way just to see like the other guys and just the mentality? Because I know you specifically wanted to kind of take it one level at a time. 

So, you're playing with the Sun Devils and then you would theoretically go into the NHL. So, like, going to that development camp, did you kind of feel like you fit in or was it overwhelming in any way?


Yeah, I think at the beginning, it's a little bit overwhelming. Just some of the big names you go in the locker room and see and guys have had success in their leagues and dominated their leagues. 

And no one's ever sure kind of how the league stacks up between each other. So, you're always trying to see if this looks better than this league and all that, so you don't really know who's going to be the top dog, but I think once everything kind of got settled in, I felt good. I felt pretty confident. 

I think like credit ASU to that because the guys at ASU, those skates, our team, any one of those guys could go anywhere and be successful. 

So, getting the opportunity to really battle at them prepared me more than anything to go into camp.


Yeah. It's awesome. Like you said, they kind of gave you things to work on going into this season with the Sun Devils. 

Let's kind of wrap off this general conversation talking about Sun Devil hockey. You're less than a week away until your first game. What are your feelings toward that and what are you hoping to accomplish out there on the ice this Friday? 

And maybe just talk about a couple of goals that you kind of have for the rest of the season, as you rep the maroon and gold.


Yeah, I'm just excited to get started. I went to a game back when I was 15 years old, and ever since that, I was kind of like, "Wow, this is where I want to be, this level of hockey."

So, it's another kind of dream come true, coming up to play for the Sun Devils so I'm really excited. And I think just, as a team spectrum we're taking it one game at a time. I think the end goal is to be in consideration for a National Championship, but it all starts with game one. 

And if we're not prepared, then that's going to haunt us. 

So, we're going to come out hot and hopefully come out with a big win. And then, personally, I just kind of take in as much as I can. 

I think this is a year where I got to grow and kind of learn the ins and outs of more of a higher level of play where my goal is to be successful and at the same time, kind of take in as much information as I can from the leaders and the older guys that have been around.


Going into your first game, do you have any, like pre-game rituals that you do? 

Whether it's, I have no idea what it would be, but do you have any personal things that you always do, like before a game, whether that's like you skate around the rink five times before you start the game?

Is there anything that you do that would stand out?


Yeah, I think the one thing that I do that no one else does is like before games, I try to keep it kind of light. 

I'll get serious kind of right before puck drop and the minutes before that, but I kind of like to float around and kind of keep my mind, not off the game, but just in like a more positive spectrum where I'm just thinking about everything else that's going on. 

And then once the game slowly gets closer, then I'll slowly start to dial in more. But, I think being my first game, this is probably going to be a more dialed tone, right from the beginning, or I'm going to have to be more focused than usual. 

Not that I'm not focused, it's just, at the end of the day, it's a game. And I like to keep my creativity flowing in my brain, and that's when I kind of crack some jokes with the guys and just sit back.


That's awesome. Well, me and whoever goes to the games will keep an eye out and make sure to head out there on the ice pregame. 

Just kind of one last question before I ask a couple of rapid fire questions to you: are there any plans for what might occur for you after your freshman year with the Sun Devils or is that not really on your mind?


Yeah, I think that's just something that we'll have to wait and see, I think, my major focus is next week.

And then other than that, I've kind of blinded it all out because it's just unnecessary right now for me to kind of think about that.

I think it's in the back everyone's head, and I have a feeling where I want to be in, whether that's next year or a couple of years, but right now I'm just taking it one game at a time.


That's awesome. Good to hear — focusing on the now and not necessarily all about the future. 

So, just to kind of wrap up this conversation, I just want to ask you a couple of fun questions that I think would be fun for the listeners to hear. 

Let me ask you who your favorite NHL player of all time is — you're allowed to say your dad, but if you do say your dad, give us another player too, but who would you say is your favorite player of all time?


Yeah, I mean my dad was my idol growing up. But I'd go with Ladislav Nagy. 

So, people who are coyotes fans, he played when I was younger and we don't really know why he was my favorite player, but I just fell in love with him and I'd go to games and cheer for him, but my present player would be Nicklas Bäckström is my favorite player that I try to model my game after.


Awesome. Favorite NHL play or game of all time? 

Do you have a highlight that you go to as your favorite play or like, a game that you go to frequently when you're not in too good of a mood, you just want to watch a highlight or re-watch a game or something?


Yeah, I always throw back to probably back-to-back games in Chicago, Mikkel Bødker's back-to-back overtime winners in the playoffs. 

Just because growing up being a diehard Coyotes fan, those are two special moments for me in my life. I think those are my, probably, happiest moments watching hockey so I'd go back to those moments.


Nice. And last question for you: you are obviously around hockey all the time, whether it's, you're actually on the ice with the Sun Devils, whether you're watching hockey with your dad or doing stuff with your dad, you know, hockey is basically your life at the moment. 

But when you aren't playing hockey, what is the life of Josh Doan like? Do you have a favorite TV show? Favorite movie? Like what would you say your second hobby is?


Yeah, I think golf growing up being in Arizona, you get involved in golf. 

In the summer times, I love to lake surf. That's become something recent for all of us up in Canada. We lake surf, but, I think in my dorm if it's not hockey or we're not watching hockey, we're probably watching some sport or game like football or baseball and then at night times, it's movie night here at our place with me, Ty Murchison, Jack Niedermayer and Tim Lovell. 

We rip through all, just, old comedies. I think we watched both Grown Ups last two nights and all sorts of movies like that. Just to kind of end the night on a good note. 


You got a go-to movie? Do you have a favorite comedy or favorite movie of all time?


I think anything with Will Ferrell right now would be a good pick for me. I think Semi-Pro is probably up there right now.


Awesome. All right, guys, that just about wraps up our time for the first episode of Untold Gold. First off, Josh, I just want to thank you for sharing this story of yours and for allowing us to take some precious time out of your day. 

I hope this was a fun experience for you. And I know there are many people, including myself, who are excited for the season and excited to see you play and best of luck out there on Friday and for the rest of the season.


Yeah. Thank you so much. And thanks for having me.


Of course, for more content on ASU men's hockey make sure to check out the State Press website, that's, to find the season preview I wrote for the team this season, which also includes Josh talking about his development camp and the veterans on the Sun Devils team this year. 

And my most recent story about this year's captain class for ASU hockey, which is a stacked captain class if I must say. 

For the State Press, I'm Austin Scott, and I hope you all have an incredible day. Peace out!

Reach the reporter at and follow @AustinScott_16 on Twitter. 

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Austin ScottSports Reporter

Austin Scott is a sports reporter majoring in Sports Journalism, and has been writing sports stories for three years. He looks to continue writing impactful, engaging sports stories for years to come. In the future, Austin wants to use his outgoing personality to do play-by-play and live sports production or sports radio and podcasting.

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