Steve Shields Journey

March 9, 2012

Would you leave sunny Southern California - stunning, coastal Newport Beach to be exact - for a frigid winter on northern Michigan's Keweenaw Peninsula, about a five-hour drive west of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.?

You would if you were Steve Shields. The former NHL goalie said the decision was an easy one. The idea of making such a drastic move was hatched last summer. It became a reality six months ago when his friend Mel Pearson offered the 39-year-old Shields the position of unpaid, volunteer goalie coach at Michigan Tech.

Pearson, named the WCHA coach of the year on Thursday, is in his rookie season at the helm of Michigan Tech after 23 years as an assistant coach under Red Berenson at the University of Michigan. He recruited Shields two decades ago to play for Michigan. So the least the native of North Bay, Ont., could do was help out his old coach.

"It really wasn't that difficult decision for me," Shields said. "I was going to spend a few years in California, but I always felt I would jump back into hockey in some way, probably coaching. I feel I have quite a bit to offer. I felt it was a way to give back to coach Pearson and give back to college hockey, which was so good for me.

"Mel was the one who recruited me. He found me. He got me on my way. It was a very easy decision."

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