Feb. 18, 2005
© Scottsdale Republic
THEY'LL MAKE BEST OF IT IN SCOTTSDALE
For now, they're just three guys living in Scottsdale.
After this week's decision to end the National Hockey League season, Phoenix Coyotes hockey players Shane Doan, Tyson Nash and Mike Comrie will simply have to wait.
They got the news after a workout Wednesday at Scottsdale's Alltel Ice Den.
The trio walked into a gift shop, wondering whether they still had jobs.
Doan, sweat dripping from his face, rested an arm against a rack of old hockey jerseys marked 30 percent off.
Nash plopped into a chair and stared at his gloves.
Comrie found a comfortable spot on the floor and turned toward the corner television, where the sport's commissioner took center stage in a news conference more than 2,000 miles away.
Right away, the players could see where this was going.
No National Hockey League season.
"Well, that's it, guys," Comrie said, walking away with a slight smile. "See you next September."
Three unemployed hockey players living in Scottsdale.
Can't say they were surprised. They were aware of the salary-cap hurdles.
Still, there was hope. All winter Nash's children kept asking, "When can we see you play hockey, Daddy?" and all winter the Phoenix left wing kept telling them, "I don't know, I don't know."
But recently Nash changed his response. He told his children, "You're going to get to watch me play real soon. They're going to get this thing done."
After the news conference, Nash shook his head.
Comrie, set to begin his second year in Phoenix, hadn't known what to expect.
"You hear so much from everybody that you don't know what's going to happen," he said. "As players, we're informed every day, but you never know until the last minute. That's why we were so anxious to hear what (the commissioner) had to say. ... It's disappointing."
There's a positive side to this, each player agreed. They'll stay in Scottsdale, where the sun shines and where they will continue to work out at the Ice Den, probably twice a week.
On Tuesday night, former Phoenix center Mike Sillinger, traded last year to the St. Louis Blues, said he would continue coaching his son's youth hockey team, as well as help out around his Scottsdale home, "you know, doing laundry, dishes, all the things we had excuses for before."
Doan said he planned on doing the same, and he smiled at the thought of teaching his 3-year-old son how to skate, an experience he otherwise would have missed.
"I'll get to see all the steps that I missed with the others," said Doan, a father of three. "I'm so thankful for that. It's something that when I'm 70 and I'm thinking back on everything, I won't remember too much (about the labor dispute), but I'll definitely remember times like this."
Nash echoed that.
"I'm living in Scottsdale," he said. "Life doesn't get any better than this. Hockey is a big part of my world, but it's not the end-all, be-all. I got a lot of other things going on. And I have three kids, so I got a busy household to say the least."