Two Different Players; Two Very Different Retirements
There have been a couple pretty big names that have retired from the National Hockey League this off-season. Within the span of one week, we saw a veteran who was a pure Coyote (and Winnipeg Jet) for 21-seasons and another player who jumped around, having problems along the way, exit the NHL. One’s reputation seen as “honorable”, the other’s reputation seen as “degrading”. You already know who I am referring to just by those adjectives.
Shane Doan and Mike Ribeiro were outstanding during their prime in the NHL, and both will be missed by fans and teammates alike, but they are two very different retirement tales. Both Doan and Ribeiro left their marks on the NHL and the surrounding communities, but surprisingly, neither were able to win the Stanley Cup in their long careers. The closest either of them came was the conference finals in 2008 for Ribeiro, and 2012 for Doan.
Shane Doan: 21 Years, One Franchise
It’s not often you see a player stick with one franchise for a long time, let alone a 21-year career. Shane Doan was originally drafted No. 7 overall, by the original Winnipeg Jets in 1995. He stuck with the franchise during the move to Phoenix, which eventually became the Arizona Coyotes.
Doan is also the longest-serving captain in the NHL, serving as Arizona’s captain from 2003-2014. He was always a top scorer for the Coyotes, where up until the last couple seasons, he was averaging 50 to 60 points a season. He finished his career with 972 points.
After Doan announced his retirement from the League, there is now only one active player from the original Winnipeg Jets. Deron Quint, who is currently in the DEL, the German hockey league, is the only one remaining. He most recently signed a one-year contract with EHC München, the reigning champions of the DEL.
Doan leaves quite a legacy, holding numerous team records for Arizona. Some of these records include: most career games played, career goals, assists, and points, shots, and game-winning goals.
Mike Ribeiro: One Relapse, A Whole Career
Mike Ribeiro wasn’t as much of a franchise player as Shane Doan was, but he still had his moments. While drafted in 1998 by the Montreal Canadiens, it took him until the 2003-2004 campaign to really hone in his skill and have a “phenomenal” season. In that season, he had 65 points (20 G, 45 G) in 81 games.
However, there was a problem, that would continue to plague him: alcoholism. He struggled with it throughout his entire career, and it eventually cost him his career, as he now sits as an Unrestricted Free Agent. After not being resigned by the Nashville Predators, his career looks to be finished; his agent hasn’t even heard from him.
“All I know, is that Mike hasn’t laced up the skates once since the end of the season. He doesn’t train anymore and he doesn’t go out on the ice anymore. He’s going to retire. … Every time my phone rings, I hope it’s him calling me.” - Mike Perno (NBC Sports)
Ribeiro was waived during his last season, but no one claimed him. He was sent to Milwaukee, the American Hockey League affiliate of the Predators. He wanted to finish his career in the NHL, but no one would take the alcohol-stricken Ribeiro.
Not a single team, American or European, has given Ribeiro the time of day, leaving him there to rot in the free agent pool. But, sometimes other things are more important than hockey. One of those things is for Ribeiro to get clean; even if he did leave the Rehab offered by the NHL.
No Shane Doan; No Mike Ribeiro
Shane Doan and Mike Ribeiro actually played with each other during the 2013-2014 campaign, when Ribeiro spent a season in Phoenix. Ribeiro had 47 points (16 G, 31 A), Doan matched his production (23 G, 24 A).
These two retirements are just proof to show the different types of players that come through the coveted National Hockey League. There are players who make a career with one team and end in an honorable fashion and on their own accord. But then there are players who travel and travel, not leaving a great taste in their previous city, and ending their career when no team wants them.
Nevertheless, these two players both had impacts on the NHL; ones that cannot be forgotten easily. Two retirements, two players, and two different legacies.