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Miller’s Time: Retirement Press Conference
By Michael Walters
He sat there choking up, speechless for a moment as he attempted to start his retirement zoom press conference. The Anaheim Ducks put together an amazing tribute video that he hadn’t seen until this morning.
That was the scene as Ryan Miller drank some water and then eventually started to talk.
Opening Comments By Miller:
“Thanks everybody for joining in. I was keeping it together until family. Just… I will get it together in a second.
They didn’t really tell me there would be so much on that video. Lots of great memories and really nice to see so many familiar faces here. Eventually here I’ll get it together.
Thank you for joining us. Hockey has been a true passion for me, introduced by family, my dad. Are family history with hockey, ever since I was little I can remember enjoyed playing it and thinking about it, watching it. I was really drawn to goaltender as a position. I think being discouraged from time to time by my dad because he knew how difficult it could be to stand there, but I felt like that was the spot for me.
And it ended up… it ended up being exactly where I wanted to be. And I am lucky that I got to do it for so long. There are too many people to thank for the help along the way. I always thought of everyone around me as kind of my pit crew. I am kind of the driver of the racecar so to speak; it takes so many people to make sure you are at your highest level. And that’s always been appreciated over the years, how many people are willing to help me and I hope that everyone understands that. I could sit here for another hour and go over every single person and I will probably leave someone out and that is unfortunate.
I am going to keep it pretty vague. I am just going to kind of go back to the start and appreciate all the help from my family, especially Dean and Theresa. They really, even just taking my son Bodhi to the rink. It’s been an eye opening experience how much parents give to their children. And we happily do it as parents and it’s a lot. Especially when you’re playing Triple A hockey and your younger brother is playing Triple A hockey and you still have two more siblings at home who are looking and probably watching right now remembering all the times they were stuck in the corner of the rink with all their homework or just a bag of things to do and they were happy to go along with it. Thank you to Drew and Bricen. That was a big part of our life growing up. Thank you for that.
Like I said I could go on and on, my teammates over the years were outstanding, my coaching, some personal relationships. I like to thank Terry Barbo, he was a goalie coach that I met when I was 16 and moved away from home, when to go play in Su Saint Mary in Michigan for a couple of years. He helped craft my game and show me that there were things I needed to work on. That became a catalyst for continuing work for the future.
I would like to thank Barbara Mire for her help over the years. She helped keep my mental game sharp. I would to thank Mike Yute and Octagon for their direction over the years and believing that I could make the transition from a college athlete to professional.
And countless teammates, many of whom I really appreciate seeing on the screen. I was surprised to see Jim Corsi with no mustache, but then Jason Pominville with a gigantic beard, that was fun to see.
As a goaltender your teammates mean a lot to you. It is a team game and we all how our job on the ice. But the boys make it fun to come to the rink. You are going into a competitive environment with those guys and I thank everybody for their preparation and their competitive spirit. It was fun going to battle.
And all the coaches over the years who took the time to spend more time, in this sport you realize how much time and effort the coaches put in.
I like to thank all the organizations who I played for. The Ducks, right now, this is very special they took the time to help me with this. Kind of thought this year would probably be my last year and I wanted to take the time to appreciate to everything about the game. And you know it’s been a good year. I am able to kind of soak it in and I thought, just, I could have waited to retire, but it just felt like this would be a good way to say good-bye. With some time to appreciate and tell the guys so that I could of enjoy the moment.
Once you are kind off and into the summer, I didn’t know it would be as easy to say goodbye in a way. This is going to help a lot towards talking to all the people I like to talk to and really being able to give this part of my relationship with hockey a send off. I appreciate the Ducks doing that. And I appreciate the Sabres organization for giving me my start, the St. Louis Blues for bringing me in and the Vancouver Canucks for signing me and believing in me. Thank you to USA hockey for my opportunity to represent the country at the world championships and two Olympic games. That will be a source of pride for me.
And Michigan State University where I was able to play varsity hockey for three years under scholarship. That was something I was very proud of. Michigan State holds a special place with my family for sure with how many of us have gone to school there. And also the 10 of us that played hockey.
And thank you to all the fans, it was a lot of fun to play in those packed buildings and to listen to the excitement around hockey, to feel the edge where you felt like you wanted to be out there performing at your best. To feel pride wearing a jersey representing the team.
Even going to those visiting buildings, where they want to give you a hard time, they want to heckle you, they want to get inside your head. That was fun. I will miss that. Thank you to all the fans, whether you cheered for us or against us. It made hockey exciting.
And I don’t know, am I forgetting anything? I think that is probably a good way to segway in to taking some questions. I think I have covered about everything I can think of.”
Q & A Section:
Drew Miller: We played against each other quite a bit, how do you feel about your overall record? And the two part why did you not let me score on you? You know I could have used it.
Ryan: “I think you got the head-to-head matchup, I don’t know exactly what it is. But hey man, you know it’s the NHL, you have to grind it out. Most of the time we met up with both needed to win the game. And as you reminded me about mini-sticks in the basement, we never let each other do anything. So I guess its how we uh, it’s the small game or the big game, we both try our best. It was fun to play against you. Not many people can say they did something like that. Pretty cool.”
Eric Stephens: Hey Ryan, congratulations on an accomplished career. You have always spoke highly of USA hockey and how proud you are to represent our country in international play. I am curious as to what do you feel is your influence or you’re your impact on the American born goalies that have come up, you know, behind you, after you since, some of whom who are staring in the NHL today and some who are obviously rising could become the next wave.
Ryan: “I hope they just look at, it’s something that’s doable. A skinny kid from middle Michigan was able to work at something and represent the country a couple of times and make a career of hockey. My situation goes to show with some dedication you can set your sights and accomplish something. And if they have looked to me as inspiring then that makes me feel good. It could take a moment where I was on the ice and use it to build something for themselves. That makes me feel really good. There are a lot of great American goalies. I am playing with one right now I think, you know Gibby’s one of the more natural goalies I met. I am looking forward to see what he can do with that jersey on again, he has done it at the World Juniors and he has done it at the World Cup. Interested to see what happens when they take him off the youngsters team and get him on to the big boy clubs I guess.”
Kevin: Ryan you mentioned that you are drawn to goaltending as a youngster and your family was resistant and tried to push back on it, understandably given the pressures of the position, but what was it that drew you to the position in the first place?
Ryan: “I think it’s just the way I read the game. It’s funny watching my son play hockey, I mean you can see these personalities in the kids who are on the ice and how they approach the game. And even the 6 year olds, and even as a 6-7 year old I starting playing goalie when I was bout 8 years old, maybe when I was closer to 9. But you have a personality on the ice and that’s true for every level. I think my personality and things I saw in the game. I was just kind of drawn to goaltender, I was concerned about our end of the game. Like on defense and you know I thought I could make a difference back there. I think that’s kind of the main thing, I think my personality and the way I see things just lined up. I consider myself lucky that I was able to do that. I think some people have a knack for things. They might get close to that all aligning for them, but don’t fully get to that point. I consider myself lucky I found I really like to do. My personality really aligned with the position and I was kind of able to carve it out.”
Kevin: I wonder if goaltender is such a unique position in all of sports, I wonder how you think the position itself has changed in your time in the NHL. Either the coaching or scouting, that kind of stuff, how has it changed?
Ryan: “It has changed greatly from when I was training as a teenager moving into juniors into college. There were schools of thought , you are going to challenge the shooter, your back side is going to get protected by the defense. Your not going to be on the ice very much until you have to be. And as it started to evolve I had to make changes in my game as you see different situations popping up more within the system of the game. I remember experimenting with Jim Corsi and Jhonas Enroth about doing the reverse VH as it kind of came into the game. We were trying to sort it out, I think the guy that had early success with it was Jonathan Quick, who took to it. But you saw how things were kind of moving. I think that’s one part of my career that I am proud of is I was able to take different elements of the game and start to evolve. I think it helped keep me within the modern game. I could continue my career that way and that’s why I was lucky enough to play this long.”
Congratulations to Miller on a successful career and thank you for all the great memories. And thank you Anaheim Ducks for letting me be part of this event.
For the full audio of the press conference, click the video below.
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April 29th, 2021