Drew Miller in action for Detroit Red Wings
For Drew Miller that involved hopping on a plane and flying some 3500 miles to Glasgow, the Detroit Red Wings player choosing to ride out the lockout in the National Hockey League at Braehead Clan.
His contract is the equivalent of the Scottish club making up the spare room and asking how he wants his eggs in the morning, but Miller will have to earn his keep. Having reached the play-offs of the Elite Ice Hockey League last season, Clan will hope the arrival of a NHL player will have a telling impact on results while his influence will also be expected to extend beyond the ice. His reputation is as impressive as his skills with a puck. Miller enjoyed suitably movie-like success with the Anaheim Mighty Ducks, winning the 2007 Stanley Cup in just his fourth appearance for a team who took their name from the Disney classic, and that celebrity will be used to foster further interest in the team.
Having trained with Clan for the first time yesterday ahead of his debut in a weekend double-header at home to Dundee Stars and Edinburgh Capitals, Miller's introduction will come quickly, but the frenetic pace of his move has been necessary. The lockout is a complicated matter – owners want to reduce revenue given to players and make changes to contract rules – yet the impasse will eventually thaw. Miller will then return home to take to the ice with Detroit.
"It was really quick. We agreed [the move] last Wednesday and then the process started," said Miller, who also has played for Tampa Bay Lightning. "We had to get everything sorted back home; two dogs had to go to the parents and we had to close the house up and move. So it all happened really quick but the flight over went well, or as well as the red eye can go. I got on the ice [yesterday] and I felt better being with the team."
The feeling will have been mutual. His new team-mates will relish the challenge to test themselves against Miller in training, and their enthusiasm will be encouraged by the American. His eventual return to the States will be marked with a training camp in Detroit and the left-winger could ill-afford to allow his skates and his skills to become blunt during the lockout. The reputation of the British game is growing, but his determination not to be idle will also have played a part in his decision to accept the first offer which came his way.
"I would rather not be sitting around; I want to play the game and not get rusty," he said. "Hopefully, the lockout will end at some point and when you go back you go straight into it and you don't want to be behind other guys. This gives me an opportunity to play –hockey is hockey and you have to play hard wherever you're at and try and help the team."
His stay may be brief but his impact will prove lasting, particularly for the younger players on the roster. Miller's arrival is a commercial boon for the Clan and is also a notable accomplishment for Jordan Krestanovich, who only became the club's player-coach in the summer. "It is an unfortunate situation with the lockout, but you know what, it's our gain right now," he said. "As long as Drew is going to be here, he is going to be a massive part of our team. I'm excited about the weekend, for sure."
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