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Young Referee Whistles While He Works

April 8, 2017 Coaches No Comments

By Eric Miller

“You can’t applaud a referee.” Alex Ferguson, Coach, Manchester United

They are jeered, never cheered.  It’s black and white.

Great referees are invisible to the general fan but invincible to the general jerk.  Officiating is not for the faint hearted.  Hockey refs need thick skin—crocodile skin–beneath the stripes. … Continue Reading

The Dork

December 2, 2016 Coaches 1 Comment

Eric characture cropped colorBy Eric Miller

Every team has one.  Whether its baseball, basketball or badminton, there’s always that one guy who doesn’t quite enmesh locker room society.  Maybe it’s his or her lousy jokes, bad breath, or that they wear turtlenecks year round.  For me it was Marvin Smellmoore’s nose.  The average length of an adult nose is about 5.8 centimeters, two-thirds the diameter of a hockey puck.  Marv’s beak, shy of 8 centimeters, poked outside his helmet’s cage.    Migrant birds eyed Marv’s nose as a potential perch. … Continue Reading

Playoffs Are All That Matter

May 10, 2016 Coaches No Comments

Eric characture cropped colorby Eric Miller

It’s only an eight game schedule but my body thinks otherwise—the season feels like 80 games.  My legs burn with each stride while my lungs gasp for more air than a carburetor.  But we’re in the playoffs and complaining is for sissies.  Everybody’s whipped, even our rivals, and it’s time to separate the wheat from the chaff.  Lose two games and we’re out until September.  No one wants to hang up their skates in early May. … Continue Reading

Hockey Mom Earns Frequent Flyer Miles

February 15, 2016 Coaches No Comments
Eric characture cropped color

Eric Miller (old hockey dude)

By Eric Miller

(Note: Names below were changed.)

We boarded the jet two hours late, me and 350 others.  No explanation was given other than lousy weather in Europe.  My original seat selection was along the back row aisle near the lavatory.  I’m one who plans ahead— the ten hour flight from Oakland to Stockholm would test my prostate, larger than a hockey puck, to the max.  Two minutes in the penalty box is rough enough.  No pre-flight drinks for me. … Continue Reading

December is the Season for Puck Drops

December 8, 2015 Coaches No Comments

Eric characture cropped color

By Eric Miller

December is the season for leaf fall, snow fall, and puck drops.

My hockey buddies grin when frosty windshields mask the morning commute, especially the guys from Minnesota and Canada where vegetables come in casseroles and nuts come from cans. … Continue Reading

Hockey Tape and Old Trophies Bring Out Sentiments

May 3, 2015 Coaches No Comments

by Eric Miller

B League Champs spring 2014 The line between frugality and nostalgia is not much wider than a skate blade.

… Continue Reading

Hockey Dad’s Love-Handle Saves the Game

January 25, 2015 Coaches No Comments

by Eric Miller

We lumbered inside the locker-room and grimaced as hockey bags slid down our shoulders.  I hadn’t seen my Blazer teammates for over a month.  Inside, the guys slouched like dough-boys, suffering from extended tryptophan hangovers.  None admitted to exercising over the holiday break.  Crazy Eddie maintained his same pear shape.  He’s a tough goalie but outside the arena the man’s hide is thinner than tomato skin (it’s rumored that Pampers commercials make him cry).  Blaze shrank since I last saw him, from hunching over golf clubs instead of hockey sticks.  Curly braided his beard into dreadlocks. Mick grew his side-burns from ear to ear, which wrapped around his jaw.  The holiday break suited my teammates.  The guys appeared relaxed except for Stretch, a 6’ 3” beanpole who weighs 135 pounds.  With a Body Mass Index of 15, the same as a starving coyote, Stretch is a bag of bones held together by a string of tattoos.  I noticed new artwork. … Continue Reading

Hockey Mom Gives Best Excuse for Missing Games

October 21, 2014 Coaches 1 Comment

by Eric Miller

The five of us frowned as we tied our skates. We were down two players and knew the next 45 minutes would test our lungs and legs.
“Where’s Blaze?” Swifty asked.
“At a Raider game,” I answered.
“Good excuse. Better than when Chuck got lost hunting or when Lefty had his vasectomy. Those guys had the lamest excuses.”
“Yeah, how did Chuck get lost hunting birds? I heard he fell asleep in a duck-blind. I can understand Lefty skipping work but it’s unforgivable to miss a game. So what if he was sore? My tomcats hunted gophers an hour after getting neutered. ”

… Continue Reading

Losing Sucks, No Matter How Old You Are

January 9, 2014 Coaches 3 Comments

By Eric Miller

Seven percent isn’t bad.  It depends on your point of view.

… Continue Reading

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