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Final Buzzer: Even Hockey Coaches Have Hearts

December 2, 2018 Coaches No Comments

By Eric Miller

Readers: This article previously appeared in Hockey Player Magazine and in several newspapers.   I tweaked it last year upon the passing of a good friend and former teammate.  I edit this piece again and added an epilogue in memory of Wayne Marshall, my former coach.  Coach Marshall, thank you for your leadership, encouragement, and love for the game. ###

“I thought this may interest you,” the email said.  In the subject heading was a name, Wayne Marshall, my high school hockey coach.  I expected the worst, to see an obituary.  … Continue Reading

Doin’ Time in the Penalty Box

May 4, 2018 Coaches No Comments

By Eric Miller

It’s improper to criticize someone 30 years later.”  Bobby Clarke, Philadelphia Flyers

If I found Darius Fooberman on Facebook I’d hesitate friending him.

A garish bully during my bantam years, Darius stood nearly six feet without skates.  With gear bag in tow his knuckles dragged as he walked into the arena.  The oaf knocked over chairs and small kids sitting on them.   Mrs. Fooberman, a square jawed bow-legged woman was shaped like a bowling pin and sported a bee-hive hairdo.  She screeched to her boy, “Darius!  You knocked over a kid.  Pick up that brat!”  … Continue Reading

Even Hockey Coaches Have Hearts

February 13, 2018 Coaches No Comments

by Eric Miller

Readers, a prologue: This article previously appeared in several newspapers and on my blog.  I share it again in memory of Eric Trivedi, a fellow hockey buddy.  Originally from Dearborn, Michigan, Eric started playing hockey at age 5 and was a founding member of the California State University-Chico inline hockey team.  Eric not only had a rapid shot but also a quick wit.  He even gave me one of his old sticks—the one that never scored.  Eric passed away unexpectedly last month at age 43.  Eric, you were too young to say goodbye to.      

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“I thought this may interest you,” the email said.  In the subject heading was a name, Wayne Marshall, my high school hockey coach.  I expected the worst, to see an obituary.  … Continue Reading

Old Hockey Player Forgets About Scoring Stats

October 11, 2017 Coaches No Comments


By Eric Miller

A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be.”  Wayne Gretzky

Some scoring statistics are best forgotten.

You’re not a hockey player until you’ve scored on yourself a saying goes, quoted by an anonymous player too embarrassed to admit doing it.  In hockey we score on opponents—not on one’s own team.  Gretzky prophesied that great hockey players don’t play where the puck is but where it will be.  That being said, I’m a great player behind my own goalie’s rear end. … Continue Reading

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 5 Comments

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

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