As his former teams face off in a Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League match on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at John Rhodes Community Centre, the late Michael Doan will be honoured in a pre-game tribute.
As part of a spectacular two-year NOJHL career, Doan played one full season for both the Soo Eagles and the Soo Thunderbirds.
And on Saturday night, the Thunderbirds will retire the no. 33 that Doan wore for them as their first-string goalie during the 2010-2011 season. He had debuted in the NOJHL with the Eagles in 2009-2010.
Ironically, Doan’s last NOJHL game came during the 2011 playoffs when his Thunderbirds were eliminated by the Michigan-based Eagles in Game 6 of a thrilling, hotly-contested, best-of-seven series. Doan and Jake Paterson of the Eagles were goal-tending standouts in that memorable Twin Soo series of 2011.
Doan then went on to play the 2011-2012 season in both the British Columbia Hockey League and the Ontario Jr. Hockey League before heading to tend goal for the Northern Michigan University Wildcats of the Division 1, Western Collegiate Hockey Association. He played three seasons at NMU before finishing up his collegiate career with the Windsor Lancers of Ontario University Athletics in 2015-2016.
A popular, good-looking young man with an upbeat personality and infectious smile, the Sault Ste. Marie native passed away following a single vehicle accident in mid July of this year. Doan had been attending a friend’s wedding in Minnesota the night before the accident.
After debuting in the Southern Professional Hockey League in 2016-2017, Doan had been living in Chicago with his close friend and former Eagles and Thunderbirds teammate, Joe Spitzer, prior to the accident. Doan was 25 years of age at the time of his passing.
His parents, Mike Doan Sr. and Nancy Doan, and his siblings, Eli and Vanessa, will be in attendance at Saturday’s jersey retirement ceremony.
PHOTO: Michael Doan, in collegiate hockey action.