Did you know you have a former NHL player living in Saline?
David Shand, a lawyer with a practice at 210 E. Michigan Ave., played 421 NHL games for the Atlanta Flames, Toronto Maple Leafs and Washington Capitals. Shand, who played at the University of Michigan before turning pro, turned to Michigan to complete his degree and help coach the Wolverines. He hosted a talk show on WTKA and was also an instructor at the university.
Saline Patch sent questions to Shand, and here are his answers.
What kind of practice do you have? How busy does the practice keep you?
A general solo practice. Civil litigation, criminal defense work, divorces, family law and some trusts and estates stuff. I worked at Bodman for 8 years, a large silk stocking law firm in Detroit and wanted a smaller practice.
How did a hockey-playing kid from Alberta end up at the University of Michigan in 1973? Back then U.S. College hockey wasn’t well regarded as a place to learn to be an NHLer? Was there something about the university you liked that brought you back many years later?
Strange story. I was drafted 1st round of the OHL draft by the Peterborough Petes (Mickey Redmond's dad, Ed, was the President and GM) but my dad was in the military and stationed in Manitoba outside of Winnipeg, so the Winnipeg club of the WHL claimed me. There was a court fight over my rights, so Rob Palmer from my junior team and Pat Hughes and Greg Natale from my league were all coming to Michigan so I decided to come too. Actually got offered by Harvard and Yale and went on recruiting visits there but they were way too snooty for me.
Why did you leave the U of M to play in Peterborough?
Once my rights were sorted out, I went to Peterborough. Back then, no college players were being drafted by the NHL. My agent told me I would be a high first round pick if I played junior and a third round pick if I stayed in school, so I left.
How did you end up back in Michigan?
I called (University of Michigan hockey coach) Red (Berenson) in 1989 to ask him to help me reenroll and finish my degree. He offered me a coaching job. I took it. It was that simple. After I finished my undergrad, I applied to Michigan Law School. If I didn't get in, I would just keep coaching. I got accepted. Graduated in '94.
You were drafted by the Atlanta Flames, who moved to Calgary. Last year, the Atlanta Thrashers moved to Winnipeg, making Atlanta the city that keeps on giving to NHL-starved fans in Canada. What did you think of the Atlanta fan base? Was it a fun place to be an NHL hockey player?
I loved Atlanta. Met and married my first wife there, had two kids, Kelley and Jason (32 and 30 now) and would have loved to stay there. We had 14,000 diehard fans. It just wasn't enough. Same with the Thrashers. Great fans, just not enough of them.
How would you describe your game? What current NHLer would you compare your game to?
I was a big, tough physical defenseman who could not put the puck in the ocean if I was standing on the beach. Probably a Mike Commodore type, though I thought I was more of a Nick Kronwall type.
You were traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs. How would you compare playing in Toronto to playing in Atlanta?
Toronto is unbelievable. It takes three hours to grocery shop because you have to stop and sign autographs the whole time. It is like living in a fish bowl. I didn't like it and my wife hated it. It's a tough way to live.
Who was the best player you ever played with?
Tom Lysiak was the most talented I ever played with. Marcel Dionne was talented and driven. Mike Gartner could skate all day, never be tired, score 40 goals a year and never break a sweat.Unbelievable. Playing with Scott Stevens as my defense partner for his first couple of years was pretty special. He was pure raw talent and loved killing people.
I remember watching the Leafs on Hockey Night in Canada and thinking your goalie Jiri Crha was the worst goalie in the world. Recently, I read that he was the best European goalie in the world next to Tretiak. Which is closer to the truth?
Jiri Crha was the worst goaltender on the planet. We played St. Louis one night when Red Berenson was coaching the Blues and Mike Liut was his net minder. We had Jiri. Shots on net in the first period were 25 to 1 for us and and the score was 1 to 0 St. Louis. We had 50 shots. They had 12. We lost 4 to 1. Nuff said.
What was it like getting sent down to the minors?
Up and down in the minors is tough, but almost every player goes through it. Very few make it right to the NHL.
If talking to someone who doesn’t know much about hockey, how would you describe fighting’s place in the sport of hockey? Do you think it belongs in the game?
Fighting has a place in the game and there is less respect because there is less fear. You cheap shotted someone when I played, there were some very big tough guys coming after you. The players policed the game themselves.
What do you think of the Wings and Leafs playing at Michigan Stadium?
I'm excited about the Leafs and the Red Wings playing at the Big House. I am hoping the Leafs will call so I can play in the Alumni game. Probaly not as I was voted one of the 50 worst Leaf players of all time. You can look it up.
How's life in Saline?
I love Saline. My daughter, Mackenzie, is a junior in high school here and a pretty good volleyball player. My son, Kevin, attends Cranbrook and plays hockey there. He had eight points (two goals and six assists) in two games last weekend so he is pretty good too. My wife is , your Washtenaw County Commissioner and she works for Foresee and loves both jobs. She was on city council here for years and I don't think we will be moving any place else.
NHL Hockey player. University lecturer. Radio show host. Lawyer. What’s next for David Shand?
Love this area and the people here and we have made a nice life for our family. I love practicing law and helping people though I do miss teaching and really miss doing the radio show. Bill Martin and I had some disagreements and he was a much bigger fish than me. It all worked out.