March 28, 2016

Dave Shand

The Atlanta Flames made defenseman Dave Shand the eighth overall draft choice in 1978, picking him ahead of the likes of Buddy Cloutier, Brian Sutter and Randy Carlyle.

Shand's hockey career may not be remembered as well as those stars, but Shand had a nice NHL and international career. He played a total of 421 NHL games with the Flames, Toronto Maple Leafs and Washington Capitals from 1976 through to 1985, scoring 19 goals and 104 points.

When asked to describe his play Shand said "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."

Shand was a standout defenseman with the Peterborough Petes, though he started his junior career at the University of Michigan. His father was in the military, and when Shand was about to start his junior career, there was much debate about where he would be allowed to play - with Peterborough as planned or with Winnipeg of the WHL where the family was now located. As there was no conclusion in sight Shand opted to go the collegiate route, turning down offers from Harvard and Yale. He chose Michigan because his junior-B teammate Rob Palmer was going there as well.

However, after just one season, Shand dropped out of school and headed 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," he said.

Shand enjoyed his time in Atlanta and Toronto, even though the differences between the two cities were like night and day. Atlanta, he said, "had great fans. Just not enough of them." In Toronto, on the other hand, "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."

Shand had a lot of fun playing along side a young Scott Stevens when the two arrived in Washington. But Shand's career came to a crashing halt in the 1984-85 season. Shand's sinus bone was obliterated and his face severely cut when he was hit by the puck courtesy of an errant Scott Stevens shot in training camp. Shand would miss most of the season, and never returned to the NHL.

Shand opted to extend his career overseas in Austria, two as a player and two more as a playing coach. He had first been approached about playing in Europe in 1978 and 1979 when he was part of Team Canada's roster at the World Championship.

Shand returned from Austria in 1989 and for two seasons worked as an assistant coach under the legendary Red Berenson at the University of Michigan. His main focus on campus was not on the ice, however. He spent his days in the classroom, completing his undergraduate degree before attending Michigan Law School. It was a tough workload, but Shand, who taught himself German while living in Austria, was an excellent student.

Since graduating in 1994 Shand has found plenty of work as a lawyer in the Detroit area. He also dabbled as a player agent, a University lecturer and a talk show host. Though he never played for the team, he also would play occasionally with the Detroit Red Wings alumni association.

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