Doig, Jason 1977–

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Jason Doig 1977

Professional hockey player

Hooked on Hockey from Young Age

Plagued by Injury

Established Himself in the NHL


Across the decades, few blacks have played in the National Hockey League. In February of 2004, only 13 could be found on league rosters. One was Jason Doig, a six-foot-three-inch, 230-pound defenseman.

Doig was no overnight star. He spent nine years toiling in the juniors and minor leagues, making occasional NHL appearances. Nevertheless, he persevered, and eventually established a reputation for hitting hard and playing tough defense. He finally earned stardom during the 2002-03 season, playing for the Washington Capitals.

Hooked on Hockey from Young Age

Jason Doig was born on January 29, 1977, in Montreal. As a youngster, he found that he preferred hockey over other sports and grew up a New York Rangers fan. His chosen position was defenseman, and he has cited 12-time all-NHL defenseman Ray Bourque as his favorite player.

Doigs hockey career began at age 13, playing for the Quebec Amateur Hockey Associations North Shore Selects during the 1990-91 and 1991-92 seasons. Then, he moved on to the Lac St. Louis Lions of the Quebec Amateur Athletic Association. Starting in 1993-94, Doig spent four years in major junior hockey, playing for the St. Jean Lynx, Laval Titan College Francais, and Granby Predateurs in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. During the 1994-95 campaign with Laval, he established junior career highs in assists (43), total points (55), and penalty minutes (259). In 20 playoff games, he recorded four goals and 13 assists.

Doig was selected by the Winnipeg Jets in round two of the 1995 NHL entry draft. He was the 34th player chosen and began the 1995-96 season with the Jets, making his NHL debutand scoring his first NHL goalagainst the Dallas Stars on October 7. He appeared in 15 games for Winnipeg, but recorded only this goal and a single assist. The Jets then assigned him to the American Hockey League Springfield Falcons, where he played in five contests before being demoted to Laval. After five games, he was traded to Granby. He starred in Granbys 20 playoff games, tallying ten goals and 22 assists, leading the post-season with 110 penalty minutes, and sparking the Predateurs to the Memorial Cup championship. Doig capped the season by earning the Guy LaFleur trophy as the playoffs Most Valuable Player and being named to the playoff all-star team.

During the 1995-96 season, wrote David Elfin in the Washington Times in 2003, Doigs future seemed limitless. He was, however, overwhelmed by his early success. I wasnt expecting to make the Jets when I was 18, he told Elfin. I was in awe the whole time I was there. After that, I had a lot of setbacks. I always trained hard and came into camp in shape. Unfortunately, I had an injury every year.

Still, the 1996-97 campaign was a busy one for Doig. He returned to Granby for his final major junior hockey season, and also put in time with the International Hockey League Las Vegas Thunder, as well as Springfield.

At a Glance

Born on January 29, 1977, in Montreal, Canada; married; children: two.

Career: Amateur hockey player, 1990-93; major junior hockey player, 1993-96; National Hockey League, Winnipeg Jets, professional hockey player, 1995; Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, Granby Predateurs, professional hockey player, 1996; various National Hockey League, American Hockey League, and International Hockey League teams, professional hockey player, 1997-2002; NHL, Washington Capitals, professional hockey player, 2002-.

Awards: Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, Guy LaFleur trophy, 1996; Most Valuable Player, Granby Predateurs, 1996.

Addresses: Office c/o Washington Capitals, MCI Center, 601 F Street NW, Washington, DC 20001.

He also represented Canada in the World Junior Championships, played in Switzerland. He totaled two assists and 37 penalty minutes in seven contests, and contributed to Canadas gold medal victory.

Doig remained with the Winnipeg franchise when it relocated to Arizona and became the Phoenix Coyotes. He made another brief NHL appearance in 1997-98, playing in four games and recording a single assist. His time in Arizona was marred by a knee injury, which caused him to miss 26 games. Most of his playing time came in Springfield.

Plagued by Injury

Doig began the 1998-99 season with the Coyotes. Again, his time in the NHL was tarnished by physical disability; he missed the seasons first 18 contests because of an injured pectoral muscle. While he played in nine Phoenix games, where he totaled one assist, he spent most of the campaign back in Springfield. The highlight of his season was his trade to the New York Rangers on March 23. The Rangers assigned him to the AHL Hartford Wolf Pack.

The 1999-00 campaign was more of the same for Doig. Again, his ice time mostly came in the minor league AHL. He briefly played in the major league NHL, appearing in seven Rangers games and tallying a single assist. He earned all his glory at Hartford, where he played a significant role in the teams Calder Cup championship victory, recording a goal and five assists in the playoffs.

The 2000-01 season was, once more, a virtual repeat. He appeared in only three games with the Rangers, where he failed to tally a goal or assist. In reporting his demotion to Hartford, the New York Times noted, Jason Doig is only 23 years old. But the Rangers have already decided that they have seen enough (He) was a major disappointment in his second game of the season. Doig looked so nervous every time he touched the puckthat the Rangers decided they simply could not keep him around anymore. Even though he accumulated a professional career-best 178 penalty minutes for the Wolf Pack, the Rangers traded him to the Ottawa Senators after the season.

By the 2001-02 campaign, it seemed that Doig was destined to languish as a career minor-leaguer. He did not even appear in the NHL that season. Instead, he was assigned to the AHL Grand Rapids Griffins. I probably had my best year in Grand Rapids, Doig told David Elfin, but just when Ottawa was going to call me up at the end of the year, I got hurt after I had been healthy all year.

Doig admitted to Elfin that, previously, he had envisioned himself an offense-minded defenseman. He explained that he had been coached to use my size to become a physical, stay-at-home defenseman. But part of me didnt want to accept that. Scoring was fun. I didnt want to let go of it. I didnt totally accept the role until I got traded to Ottawa and spent that year in Grand Rapids.

Established Himself in the NHL

The 2002-03 season was Doigs first in the Washington Capitals organization, with whom he signed as an unrestricted free agent in September. It was his breakthrough professional campaign. He began the season with the Capitals Portland Pirates AHL affiliate, but was recalled to the parent club on December 3. Finally, his time in the NHL was neither brief nor marred by injury. He remained with the Caps for the rest of the season, appearing in 55 games, scoring three goals and five assists but leading the team with 108 penalty minutes. Against the Rangers on January 26, he totaled a career-high 19 penalty minutes. He appeared in his first NHL postseason games, playing in all six of the Capitals contests.

Last year was a great year for me, Doig told David Elfin. I must have been doing something right at Portland, and when the opportunity here presented itself, I made the best of it. George McPhee, the Capitals general manager, added, Jason was a really good find for us. Hes better defensively than we had thought.

Doig resigned with the Capitals for 2003-04. He began the season with the team, and put up numbers similar to those he amassed in 2002-03. His aggressive play was characterized by two incidents which occurred in January. First, in a game against the Rangers, Doig cleanly but forcefully employed his left shoulder to check Eric Lindros, propelling the center toward the ice and leaving him with a concussion. Doig then received a two-game suspension for kneeing Carolina Hurricanes center Kevyn Adams. Writing in Sports Illustrated, Stephen Cannella observed that, despite the suspension, Doig doesnt deserve the dirty tag. He didnt appear to intentionally knee Adams, and his crunching of Lindros was legal. He has to make that hit, Washington coach Glen Hanlon said of Doigs catching Lindros skating with his head down. If he doesnt, hes not doing his job. Washington Post sportswriter Jason La Canfora added that Doig was playing his best hockey of the season in recent weeks, returning to the consistently abrasive style that solidified his NHL career last season after years of toiling in the minors.

Throughout his career, Doig has been active in charitable endeavors, showing a special concern for the plight of inner-city youth. While with the Rangers, he became involved with Ice Hockey in Harlem, a program that employs the sport to encourage scholastic accomplishment, accountability, and cooperation. He championed the NHL Hockey Diversity Task Force, which endeavors to introduce the sport to children of varied cultural backgrounds. While playing in Grand Rapids he purchased 500 Griffins tickets, which he donated to youth organizations and charities. Ive been fortunatethe game of hockey has given me a lot, he noted, on the official AHL Web site. Im just trying to give something back.

While a Capital, Doig spent Christmas day serving holiday meals to 375 poor and homeless youngsters and their families. On Martin Luther Kings birthday, he helped paint a childrens mural on the wall of a building in Benning Terrace, a Washington, D.C., public housing community. Martin Luther King did a lot for minorities, Doig told the GW Hatchet, a George Washington University student newspaper, and as a minority I want to help out the community, give back to those who help support us.



New York Times, October 18, 2000, p. D6.

Sports Illustrated, February 9, 2004, p. 92.


Black Hockey Players Look to More Blacks for Fan Support: Jet, November 10, 2003, LookSmart, (May 4, 2004).

Doig Pound Debuts in Grand Rapids, AHL, (May 4, 2004).

Doig Settling in on Caps Blue Line, Washington Times, (May 4, 2004).

Internet Hockey Database, (May 4, 2004).

Jason Doig Statistics and Scouting Report,, (May 4, 2004).

NHL reaches out to Black youths, Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder, (May 4, 2004).

Students Volunteer in Honor of MLK Day, GWHatchet (Washington, DC), (March 11, 2004)

Washington Capitals Players, Washington Capitals, (May 4, 2004).

Rob Edelman