The Phoenix chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association announced this week that Coyotes Captain Shane Doan has been nominated for this season's Bill Masterson Memorial Trophy.

The annual award recognizes the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.

Doan, 36, re-signed with the Coyotes last summer just before the NHL lockout and then served as one of the key players negotiators. On the ice, Doan has scored a team-high 13 goals while playing in all 45 games.

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The Phoenix Coyotes announced that the team will hold Fan Appreciation Night on Friday, April 26 when the Coyotes host the Colorado Avalanche for their final regular season home game of 2012-13 7 pm at Arena.

Fan Appreciation Night is a long-standing Coyotes tradition which recognizes fans for their loyalty and support throughout the season. Fans in attendance at the game will be treated to giveaways offering a variety of prizes that will be awarded throughout the evening. All fans in attendance will receive a Coyotes rally towel courtesy of Arizona Lottery and a poster that features Coyotes captain Shane Doan, assistant captains and Martin Hanzal, along with goaltender Mike Smith and defenseman. In addition, five lucky fans will receive autographed player jerseys from Coyotes captain Shane Doan, Keith Yandle, Mike Smith, Mikkel Boedker and Antoine Vermette.

“Fan Appreciation Night is a great opportunity for us to thanks all of our fans for their tremendous support and loyalty throughout the season,” said Coyotes President and COO Mike Nealy. “We are thrilled to dedicate this game to our fans and we hope that they enjoy the great giveaway items that we have lined up for them.”

The Coyotes will also present their annual team awards prior to the game. Honors include the Fry’s Food Stores Most Valuable Player Award; the Desert Schools Leading Scorer Award; the Ganem Jewelers Three Star Trophy; the Gila River Casinos Man of the Year Trophy; and the Arizona Lottery Jukka Nieminen Memorial Trophy which is presented to the team’s hardest working player.

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The Coyotes are asking fans to select the recipient of the team’s hardest working player award for the 2012-13 season.

The award, given each year since 1996-97, was renamed the Jukka Nieminen Memorial Trophy in memory of Jukka Nieminen, the team’s long-time massage therapist who passed away in June of 2010. Nieminen was well loved and respected within the organization and around the NHL, and the Coyotes are excited to keep his memory alive via this annual award.

This season’s Nieminen Trophy will be presented to the top vote getter on Fan Appreciation Night on April 26, before the game vs. the Colorado Avalanche.

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The Coyotes made some roster moves Monday as goaltender Chad Johnson and forward Nick Johnson were both assigned to the Portland Pirates, the Coyotes American Hockey League affiliate (AHL).

The 6-foot-3, 205-pound Chad Johnson has made four starts for the Coyotes this season posting a 2-0-2 record with a 1.21 goals against average and a .954 save percentage (SV%).

He has also appeared in 34 games with the Pirates this season, posting a 16-15-1 record with a 3.00 GAA and a .903 SV%.

Nick Johnson, the 6-foot-2, 200-pound forward has appeared in 17 games with the Coyotes this season, totaling four goals, two assists for six points and a plus-3 rating. He also posted 3-6-9 and 13 penalty minutes (PIM) in 14 games with the Pirates in 2012-13.

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The Coyotes also announced that they have signed forward Tobias Rieder of the Kitchener Rangers (Ontario Hockey League) to a three-year entry-level contract.

The 5-foot-11, 185-pound Rieder recorded 27-29-56 and 12 penalty minutes (PIM) in 52 games with the Rangers this season. He led the team in points and ranked second in goals and assists while he has also collected 2-10-12 and four PIM in nine playoff games.

In 2011-12, the 20-year-old native of Landshut, Germany registered 42-42-84 and 25 PIM in 60 games with the Rangers. He led the OHL with 13-14-27 in 16 postseason games last season.

Rieder was originally drafted by the Edmonton Oilers in the fourth round (114th overall) in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft.

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Coyotes fans have the chance to have one of their own on the cover of EA Sports NHL 14 video game.

Two Coyotes have been pitted against each other for the initial voting process, and it’s up to the fans who will represent Phoenix against the other 29 elected players from the other 29 teams.

The two players chosen to represent the Coyotes are captain Shane Doan and defenseman Keith Yandle.

The Doan vs. Yandle vote begins 9 p.m. (Arizona time) Sunday, April 21 at

Fans can also vote on Twitter every Thursday, and those votes will count double. Please note that you must include the players’ specific hashtags in the Tweet for it to count.

Use the hashtag #NHL14CoverVote on Twitter. The official hashtags for Doan and Yandle are #NHL14Doan and #NHL14Yandle.

Voting is unlimited, so vote early and vote often.

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The Portland Pirates clinched a playoff spot in style, defeating the Bridgeport Sound Tigers 3-1 Friday at the Civic Center. Chris Brown led the way with a three-point night for the Pirates.

Pirates’ starter Mark Visentin had to be strong early, as the Sound Tigers jumped out to a 9-0 shots advantage. It was not until Blair Riley was sent to the box for a hooking call at 9:29 that the Pirates got their first shot on goal. The shot came 11 minutes into the first period; However the Pirates could not capitalize on the power play. Portland went back to the power play about a minute after the first one expired. Once again, they only mustered one shot on Bridgeport starter Rick DiPietro, and fail to score. The Sound Tigers ended the period with an 11-4 advantage in shots.

The Pirates had a better start to the second period, jumping out to a 5-2 advantage in shots to start the period. Portland went back to work on the power play early in the second, thanks to a cross checking call to Matt Donovan just 38 seconds into the period. DiPietro and the Sound Tigers penalty kill once again stymied the Pirates. DiPietro followed the strong penalty kill with a pair of nice stops on Lucas Lessio, robbing the Pirates forward on an initial shot and rebound chance in front of the net. The Sound Tigers were unable to convert on a pair of power play chances of their own in the second. It appeared Donovan had put Bridgeport on the board, but the goal was waved off because of a player in the crease.

Evan Brophey put the Pirates on the board just 58 seconds into the third. Brophey took a pass from Chris Brown and got in behind the Sound Tigers defense, beating DiPietro with a backhand shot over his shoulder. The Sound Tigers answered at the 7:02 mark of the third. Ryan Strome sent a low shot through a screen to beat Visentin five hole and tie the game at one. Brown took over for the Pirates. After a loose puck made its way out of the Pirates zone, Brown picked it up for 2-on-1 chance, electing to shoot and beating DiPietro low on his blocker side. Brown put an exclamation point on his night and sealed the victory for the Pirates with an empty net goal at 19:45. The goal was Brown’s team leading 29th of the season.

The Pirates improved to 40-29-3-2, while Mark Visentin improved to 15-12-1. With the win, the Pirates clinched a playoff berth for the 15th time in team history, and first time since 2010-11.

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Several Coyotes prospects are looking to add more postseason experience to their resumes as they and their Gwinnett Gladiators teammates embark on a best-of-seven second-round series against Cincinnati in the ECHL Playoffs starting today.

After helping push Gwinnett to a 43-26-3 regular season record and a third-place finish in the ECHL’s Eastern Conference, goaltender Louis Domingue, forward Evan Bloodoff and defenseman Justin Weller, all played key roles in the Gladiators’ four-game sweep of South Carolina in the first round of the Kelly Cup Playoffs.

Domingue, a fifth-round selection (138th overall) by the Coyotes at the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, was part of a two-goalie tandem with fellow Phoenix prospect Mike Lee that received a majority of the goaltending duties for the Gladiators during the regular season. But with Lee currently playing for Phoenix’s affiliate in the American Hockey League, Domingue has taken the reins and has responded with strong numbers.

Domingue played in all four of Gwinnett’s first-round games, posting a 1.50 goals-against average and a .947 save percentage with a shutout in Game 1 and a 40-save performance in Game 4. All total, the Quebec native surrendered just six goals in the four games against South Carolina.

“He has responded, and I think it’s great for development when you get to play in important games,” Coyotes Assistant General Manager Brad Treliving said. “Louis has been playing a lot and he’s been playing well.”

Bloodoff, a sixth-round selection (157th overall) by the Coyotes at the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, along with Scott Arnold, were two forwards from the Phoenix system who played for Gwinnett this season.

While Arnold has yet to appear in any playoff games for the Gladiators due to a call-up to the AHL, Bloodoff has carried over his play from the regular season, where he was fifth in scoring among his Gwinnett teammates with 20 goals and 18 assists for 38 points in 52 games. In the postseason he finished the first round with three goals and two assists.

Bloodoff’s first goal was Gwinnett’s first of the playoffs, at the 9:24 mark of the first period in Game 1 against South Carolina, while his second one was the game-winner that helped secure the series for Gwinnett in the second period of Game 4.

Justin Weller, a fourth-round selection (106th overall) by the Coyotes at the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, finished the season with two goals and nine assists for 11 points in 65 regular-season games, with a plus-minus rating of plus-seven.

In the four postseason games against South Carolina, he notched a goal and an even plus-minus rating. Weller’s lone goal of the series put Gwinnett ahead early in the third period of Game 3, a game they won 3-1.