John-Michael Liles was born November 25, 1980 in Zionsville, Indiana. The eighth pick, 159th overall selection of the Colorado Avalanche in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft, Liles is a graduate of the Team USA Development Program and of the University of Michigan State.
An offensively gifted defenseman, Liles played four seasons at Michigan State capturing numerous awards, including; two-time All-American, Hobey Baker Award finalist, two-time winner of the CCHA's Best Offensive Defenceman and was a two-time All-CCHA First Team All-Star to name a few. The Zionsville, Indiana native capped off his collegiate career in 2002-03 as the top goal-scoring defenceman in Michigan State history (44) and the third-highest scoring defenceman with 138 points.
Once his collegiate career came to an end, Liles joined Colorado's AHL affiliate in Hershey before becoming a fixture on Colorado's blue line in 2003-04. In his first season with the Avalanche, Liles registered 34 points (10-24-34) and led all NHL rookie defenseman in scoring.
On the international stage, Liles was a member of the US World Cup team (2004) its World Championship team in 2005, and its Olympic team in 2006.
Liles established himself as the Avs' top offensive defenceman, consistantly providing production from the back end. He began the 2010 season by recording an assist in nine straight games, a Colorado record and went on to post a career best 40 assists.
On June 24, 2011, Liles was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for a second round draft pick.
Liles would appear in 32 games for the Leafs during the lockout shortened 2012-13 season, recording a pair of goals and nine assists. He would also appear in four playoff games for the club in their first round defeat to the Boston Bruins.
In 2013-14, Liles would struggle to crack the Maple Leafs' lineup and would spend time in the American Hockey League. In 16 games for the Toronto Marlies he would put up impressive offensive totals, notching 13 points in 16 games. On January 1, 2014, Liles' time in the Toronto organization would come to an end. He was traded to the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for Tim Gleason.