Shjon Podein's interest in hockey was greatly enhanced by the electricity that surrounds the high school hockey programs of his native Minnesota. He skated for John Marshall High School and then made the leap to the University of Minnesota-Duluth in 1987. By the end of his first season on campus, he was already the property of the Edmonton Oilers.
He stuck with university until the completion of his junior year and then turned pro with the AHL's Cape Breton Oilers in 1990. But within the Oilers' domain, Podein never really caught on as a big-league regular. Over the course of four years, he appeared in only 68 games, spending most of his time in the AHL where he helped Cape Breton win the Calder Cup in 1992-93.
It wasn't until 1994-95, when he signed as a free agent with the Philadelphia Flyers, that he finally found his major-league niche. It was in Philly that Podein established himself as a valuable and versatile special-teams man. And although never blessed with great hands or leg speed, he did succeed in combining a vast reserve of intensity and defensive know-how to become a first-rate penalty killer. He also attained the respect of his teammates as a team leader by example in the dressing room.
During his five seasons with the Flyers, Podein helped his club regain a playoff presence that peaked with a trip to the Stanley Cup finals against the Wings in 1997. In 1998-99, he was traded to the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for Keith Brown. In Denver, Podein assumed his usual role as one of the Avs' penalty-killing kingpins. His hard work and intensity brought big results in the form of a Stanley Cup victory in 2000-01. Following Colorado's Stanley Cup victory in 2001, he was traded to the St. Louis Blues midway through the 2001-02 season and remains one of the premier defensive players on the Blues roster.
Away from the ice, he has gained notice for his work with the Shjon Podein Children's Foundation and various inner-city youth hockey programs. As acknowledgement, he was awarded the 2001 edition of the King Clancy Memorial Trophy for his leadership role and off-ice humanitarian contributions.