Doan bleeds Canada red

TERRY JONES -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 8:31 AM ET

INNSBRUCK, Austria -- Shane Doan is thinking of picking up where Catriona LeMay-Doan, his cousin by marriage, left off.

He's considering becoming an Olympian even if the NHL doesn't go to Torino.

If the NHL isn't up and running at the start of next season and it looks like NHL players won't be going to the 2006 Olympic Winter Games, Doan is thinking of joining the Jamie Hewards of the world to play for Canada.

"For sure, I've thought about it," said the native of Halkirk, who scored the winning goal for Canada at the World Cup.

Heward said he was surprised when Doan told him about it here the other day.

"Shane and I kinda talked about it in casual conversation at a table. It was surprising. Then again it wasn't that surprising when I thought about it. He's a player whose contract has expired and the Olympics are a pretty big thing.

"I think you're going to see a few guys who are going to do it if the lockout carries on into next season. I think there are other guys out there like Shane and Paul Kariya, who I'm told are thinking along the same lines - guys who have contracts which have expired, who will decide to play for Canada.

"If guys like Shane Doan and other guys commit to do that, it would be a great thing for Canadian hockey."

BASED IN EUROPE

Heward, who is here as a reserve for Team Canada, is one of the European-based Canadian players who plays for Marc Habscheid's various national teams over here in tournaments such as the Spengler Cup. About 30 of those players will be in Edmonton next month for a pre-Olympic camp in the event nothing is resolved in the NHL labour war by then.

Doan says if the lockout continues into the first few weeks of the season, he'd lean toward playing for Canada through to the end of the Olympics even if it was all settled sometime around Christmas - even if it meant giving up another half-season or so of salary to go with the full year of pay he missed this past season.

"Everybody would try to find some place to play. If the season doesn't start next year, there are a lot of guys who didn't play this year who are going to have to play somewhere next year. Maybe a lot of the guys who went to Europe this year won't go back. It's one thing to not play for one year, but to not play for two years ... if you didn't play the year before, you have to play next year.

INTENDING TO FIND OUT

"I'm thinking about it. It's something I'm intending to find out," he said about the various scenarios in which he could fit into whatever program Canada went with to get to Torino.

"The organization in Phoenix has been really good to me. I would talk to them and talk to Hockey Canada," he said of having a comfort level in the situation.

But Doan said given his options, he'd rather play for Team Canada for free than go over to Europe and play for whatever.

"The Olympics are a special thing I'd never forget," he said. "You don't need to be paid to put this jersey on."

"Hopefully it won't go that far. Hopefully we'll be back playing NHL hockey and going to the Olympics. But if the season doesn't start, I intend to talk to Phoenix and Hockey Canada, then think it out."

It's interesting that his boss in Phoenix is Wayne Gretzky, who headed Canada's Salt Lake 2002 team to win our first Olympic hockey gold in 50 years.

"If it turned out there wasn't a season and I didn't do that, I think I'd regret not having had that experience," added Doan.

Heward, who is monitoring the entire situation here, not just for himself but for all his Canadian "black aces", says he thinks Canada wouldn't be able to put a team together for the entire year because of the players' contract situation in Europe.

"I think it would end up as kind of a full- time/part-time thing where they play all the tournaments overseas. There are six or seven tournaments. I think it's exciting to know there are guys thinking that, that there are guys like Shane Doan considering putting their careers on hold to play for their country when it might mean missing even more paycheques.

"To hear a guy willing to turn down pretty unbelievable money, after a year of not playing, well, I think that's pretty amazing."


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