Steve Shirreffs played five seasons of pro hockey, including two in the AHL, but he got his start in the Upper Valley, playing on some terrific Hanover High School teams in the early 1990s.
An offensive defenseman, with excellent size and leadership skills, Shirreffs led the Marauders to state championships in his junior and senior seasons, 1992-93 and 1993-94. As a junior he posted 4-19-23 point totals and was a plus-59.
One of his biggest plays came in the waning seconds of the championship game against Concord. He stopped a clearing pass at the blue line and set up a play that tied the game; the Marauders won in double-overtime.
That championship helped insert Hanover into the conversation about the state’s top programs. Over a 14-year span, the Marauders would take home the state title five times.
“He played his best games in the biggest games against the toughest competition,” said longtime Hanover coach Dick Dodds. “He was a positive influence everywhere he went and never had a bad word to say about anyone.”
As a senior, Shirreffs upped his totals to 11-30-41 and plus-81, earning All-State honors. He prepped for a year at Hotchkiss, winning a New England title, getting drafted by the Calgary Flames and paving his way to Princeton, where he developed into one of the top defensemen in the NCAA.
He was named an All-American and first-team All-ECAC as a junior, when he was the second-highest scoring defenseman in the nation and the Tigers won the league crown and made their first-ever NCAA tournament appearance. He currently ranks fifth all-time at Princeton in defenseman scoring (16-48-64).
“I never had an easier guy to coach,” said former Princeton coach Don “Toot” Cahoon. “He was the consummate team player. No one worked harder or listened better…His graduating class was probably the best in Princeton hockey history.”
With his NHL rights traded to the Washington Capitals, Shirreffs started his pro career in the fall of 1999 with their AHL affiliate, the Portland Pirates, playing in 44 games. From there he moved on to Europe, playing three seasons in the Finnish Elite League around one more stint in the AHL/ECHL.
A student of the game, a positive influence on teams he touched, and a great ambassador for hockey from New Hampshire.