Shane Doan is one of the most accessible players in the NHL. He won the King Clancy Trophy in 2010, awarded to a player who has leadership qualities on and off the ice and has made a significant humanitarian contribution to his community.
He made time today to chat about "Mantracker."
"Mantracker" is a show on Discovery's Science Channel. The show, extremely popular in Canada, has two people take off into the wilderness with a map, a compass and a head start (usually 2 kilometers). Mantracker, a certified search and rescue tracker named Terry Grant, is on horseback, armed with a local guide and an arsenal of forensic skills. The "prey" have 36 hours to reach a finish line some 25 miles away without getting caught. How they escape is up to them.
Doan and his brother, Brook, were prey on a recent episode. They filmed it in July 2010.
"It was awesome," Doan said after practicing for tonight's game against the Sabres. "It was such a unique experience to do it with my brother because he was a big fan, and he got me into watching it. That’s the whole thing was he really wanted to do it. To have the experience of doing something with him that we’ll always have and kind of always remember is something that I’m very grateful for. The organization at Mantracker, the whole production, was so good to us. We had such a blast."
Doan filled me in on how they shoot the show. Grant's team and the contestants each have one cameraman with them, and he shoots as much as he can while they run up mountains, through thick brush and across streams. Then, after the chase is complete, the teams come back to film additional footage for TV.
"It’s really legit," Doan said. "People are like, 'Well, how do they not see the cameraman?’ and different stuff like that. The way that they do it for the most part is there was one cameraman with each unit. They follow you the whole time. The two guys that are with you – Lawrence [Foster] and Shifty [Mike Schaffel] were the two guys; Lawrence was with us, Shifty was with Terry – they’re unbelievable. You can’t believe how good they are, how fast they are and how he stays with you.
"Now you finish the whole chase, and at the end of the chase they go through their footage. Every time there’s something of significance that happens, they hit a GPS thing on their camera. For four days afterwards, you return to where they hit their GPS, and they watch the video. They’ll be like, 'OK, you came past that tree there, you came down this path. It looks like you came around this bush, and you stopped right there. All right, you ran across that creek and then up that side.’
"So then, they set up cameras and have you do the exact same thing again, but it’s following your exact pattern. They use a ton of the real footage, too, but they also will add in stuff so that it’s entertaining. But it’s exactly what happened. We had a blast."
The whole episode is available on YouTube by clicking here. (I'd post it on this blog, but I'm guessing there are copyright rules.) If you haven't seen it and are curious whether Doan and his brother are successful, stop reading here. The final quote will give you a hint.
"I didn’t realize until afterward how important it was to Brook," Doan said. "I knew that we were going to have fun and it was something that we would remember, but I didn’t realize to him how … I don’t know, it was just one of those experiences. Everyone has family that they want to have an experience with, and it was something that me and him will never, ever forget."