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Two sons of franchise icons, there are interesting parallels between Josh Doan and Tij Iginla

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Photo credit:© Rick Scuteri - USA Today
Ryan Pike
1 month ago
Way, way back in the 1990s, the Western Hockey League’s Kamloops Blazers were a powerhouse team. With a stacked roster, the Blazers won back-to-back Memorial Cups in 1994 and 1995. Two members of those Blazers teams, Shane Doan and Jarome Iginla, went on to be first-round NHL Draft picks in 1995 and ended up becoming franchise icons in Phoenix and Calgary, respectively.
With the playing careers of their fathers complete, now it’s time for the sons to take their turns. Doan’s son, Josh was drafted in 2021. Iginla’s son, Tij, is expected to be a first-round selection in the upcoming 2024 NHL Draft.
The path that Josh Doan traversed during his draft year, with his father a prominent member of the Coyotes’ front office at the time, can offer some insights into the journey that Tij Iginla is currently going through.
Born in Scottsdale, Arizona in 2002 while his dad was a member of the Coyotes, Josh Doan was 15 when his dad finished his final NHL season. By that point, the younger Doan was already turning heads in Phoenix area minor hockey. Selected in the 2017 WHL Bantam Draft by the Blazers, Josh opted for the college route, committing to Arizona State University at the end of the 2018-19 season and spending two seasons with the United States Hockey League’s powerhouse Chicago Steel – the same team that produced Flames prospect Matt Coronato.
It would have been unique enough for Josh to navigate the draft process as the son of a really strong NHL player. But midway through his draft year, 2020-21, his dad joined the Coyotes’ front office as their chief hockey development officer, working as a de facto consultant with their business and hockey operations departments.
“He was obviously really helpful through that whole process and just dealing with the whole juggling of the draft in general,” said Doan. “It was hard because obviously they were pretty secretive about me, from where they had me, both towards me and towards him, so both of us were kind of in the dark. I didn’t think they were going to take me because their interest didn’t seem as high and he didn’t know what was going on.”
“I think they obviously did that on purpose to kind of let me enjoy the process rather than get worked up about worrying about going to a team that I grew up cheering for and had been around. So, it’s a little bit more stressful, but the Coyotes have done an amazing job with that. The juggling of the draft is, it’ll be a busy couple weeks for him and when you have a guy like his dad, like I have with my dad, to kind of calm your nerves a little bit and talk you through it, it makes it a lot easier.”
Josh had a superb draft season, posting 31 goals and 70 points over 53 games. He helped the Steel capture the Clark Cup as the USHL’s playoff champions. He ended up being rated 87th among North American skaters by Central Scouting, but some rankings had him even higher – TSN’s Craig Button had him ranked 40th overall. He ended up being a second-round pick, 37th overall, by the Coyotes. While the Coyotes will be relocating to Utah for 2024-25, Josh got to play 11 NHL games for the same team his father did.
Born in Lake Country, B.C. (just outside of Kelowna) during the 2006 off-season, Tij turned 11 after his father’s last NHL season. After Jarome retired he began coaching his kids, first in Boston area minor hockey and later in the Kelowna area at the RINK Hockey Academy. Tij was drafted by the Seattle Thunderbirds in the 2021 WHL Draft and, following the Thunderbirds’ WHL championship win in 2023, he was traded to the Kelowna Rockets.
A month after Craig Conroy was named the Flames’ general manager, he hired his old linemate, Jarome, as a special advisor. Speaking at his end-of-season press conference, Conroy discussed how the club navigates Jarome’s knowledge of the upcoming draft class with his son’s prominence in that group.
“We don’t talk about where Tij is on the list,” said Conroy. “Like, he doesn’t read Tij’s reports or anything like that, just doesn’t feel quite comfortable, but on everything else, tons of input. He’s got great background. He knows a lot of these kids personally. He’s either coached against them when he was out east or he knows them from things that his sons have played against the kids. So that information is invaluable. You’re always looking to get an insight into what a player’s like, what his family’s like, and Jarome’s a wealth of knowledge, especially this year.”
For his part, Tij is having a tremendous draft year. After being a depth player during his time with the Thunderbirds, Tij has exploded offensively with 47 goals and 84 points in 64 games for the Rockets during the regular season. (He added another nine goals and 15 points in 11 playoff games.)
Tij was ranked ninth among North American skaters in the recently-released Central Scouting final rankings. He’s been featured around the top 10 among many prominent independent rankings – Elite Prospects listed him at sixth overall on their ranking – with the Flames slated to select at ninth overall (pending the draft lottery). If the Flames selected Tij with their pick, it likely wouldn’t be perceived as a big reach given his recent performance and perceived development potential.
“It’s a little bit of a unique experience, obviously it’s not the most common thing when you’re in a position where you’re going to get a chance to get drafted and play for the team that your dad played for, something that’s really cool,” said Doan. “I think in Tij’s case, where he’s a guy that supposed to go in the top 10 picks potentially, it makes it a little bit more different because there’s a little bit more pressure when you go that high, but I think he’s someone that will handle that well. It’s just something, though, that as anyone else there’s going to be pressures of making the NHL and you’ve got to put it in that perspective that no matter what kind of happens that you’ve just got to work hard and do the same thing that everyone else is going to do.”
When asked if Tij is on the Flames’ draft list, the usually chatty Conroy showed something he isn’t quite known for: a poker face.
“We’re just going to put everybody on the list that should be,” said Conroy.
The 2024 NHL Draft goes July 28 & 29 in Las Vegas.
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