Sunday Q & A with David ShieldsJan 15, 2017
One year ago, Comets' defenseman David Shields was still learning his way around the Utica area.
Picked out of the ECHL in December 2015, the Rochester, NY resident couldn't be happier where his hockey career continues. Shields' journey to The AUD has experienced interesting encounters and individuals.
Q: On December 11, 2015 you came to Utica. How did the welcoming process go?
A: It was a lot more welcoming than in other towns. This (Utica) is by far my most favorite place to have played. There can't be a better hockey town. The guys were very welcoming.
Q: During your four seasons in juniors with the Erie Otters, you were coached by former Utica Devils coach Robbie Ftorek ('92-'93). What was that experience like for you?
A: He (Robbie) was a great coach, who I learned so much from. He's been a big part of my career. Robbie is huge into development and teaching.
Q: Your first year with the Otters ('07-'08), Ryan O'Reilly was your teammate. Did you think that he would become the NHL All-Star that he is today?
A: Ryan has always had unbelievable skill. To be honest, I didn't think that it would happen for him that quickly. Ryan had the best work ethic, even then at that age (17 yrs.). His off-ice work habits are incredible.
Q: You were drafted by the St. Louis Blues (6th round in '09). When you joined the Peroria Rivermen for the '11-'12 season, were you ready for the AHL?
A: I was ready to make the leap. Prior to Peoria, I had been in Alaska (Blues' then ECHL affiliate Alaska Aces) for just under one month. I got to play a lot of defense. Peoria was a good city to be in.
Q: How do you remember your Alaska experience?
A: I'm glad I went there. The sights were incredible. My fiancé came down to be with me for a little while. We (Aces) flew everywhere. It was just a very cool time.
Q: During your two seasons with the Rivermen, goalies Jake Allen and Ben Bishop were your teammates. What do you think seeing them in the NHL?
A: It's crazy to see Ben as the number one goalie in Tampa for several years. I was with Jake in Peoria and Chicago (Wolves). He's (Jake) one of the better guys I've been around.
Q: While you were in Peoria, Brendan Burke was the radio play-by-play broadcaster. Hockey's a small world - no?
A: Hockey's like family. It was nice to be able to listen to him, once I was in Utica.
Q: When you were with the Glens Falls Thunder two seasons ago, how did you deal with the waiting game - for a call back to the AHL?
A: It's always in the back of your mind, if the call is going to come. But, that's where I got my confidence back. Two seasons earlier I had hurt my knee while in Chicago.
Q: Last November, you posted a picture on your Twitter account (@David_Shields5) of your jersey with an "A". Proud to be named an alternate captain?
A: That was a surprise. I'll never forget it. It was a privilege.
Q: After you signed with St. Louis, did you buy anything interesting with your bonus money?
A: I've gone through the bonus money (laughs). I didn't buy anything big; small things like clothes. Since then, I've probably gone through 10 different cars.
Q: You and Chad Billins have been paired on the back end this season. How did the two of you come together?
A: We were together for one game, and formed a chemistry. We've gotten to know our voices and where we will be on the ice. Being with someone regularly makes being on the ice a lot easier. He (Billins) teaches me out on the ice.
Q: You're a Western New York guy. Give us the rundown.
A: I was born in Buffalo and my family moved to Rochester when I was five-years-old. My mom is in Florida.
Q: What's it like for you when the Comets skate in Rochester?
A: It's always good times. My family loves to come out to the games. There's usually 20 people there for me.
Q: If you could ask three people for an autograph, who would they be?
A: Mark Wahlberg. Wayne Gretzky. Jim Kelly.
Q: What's you go-to movie?
A: D3: The Mighty Ducks
Q: Is there a joker on the Comets?
A: (Cole) Cassels. He's one of the funniest guys. I like what he says.
Q: Dinner with anyone - who you sitting down with?
A: Tiger Woods. I wouldn't mind getting his autograph, come to think of it.
Written by Don Laible