By LARRY LAGE
AP Hockey Writer
ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — The University of Michigan has cut ties with embattled hockey coach Mel Pearson. Pearson’s contract expired after last season and he had been an at-will employee, pending a review of the program. An investigation revealed Pearson pressured student-athletes to lie about COVID-19 contact tracing during the 2020-21 season and fired volunteer coach Steve Shields for raising concerns. The Wolverines did not play in the 2021 NCAA Tournament due to COVID-19 protocols. With a team led by NHL first-round draft picks, they were 31-10-1 last season and lost to Denver in the Frozen Four.