Kevin Miller

Sport: Men’s hockey

Age: 23

Year: Senior

Hometown: Stony Plain, Alberta

Major: Business Finance

Question: We’ll start, as we often do with these things, with your hometown. What is the No. 1 asset about Stony Plain, Alberta?

Answer: To be honest, there’s nothing overly exciting about Stony Plain, but I did enjoy growing up there and will always love going back. Edmonton is not a far drive, so I tend to spend a lot of time in the city when I’m home. I love the small-town feel, and my whole family lives there, so it will always be considered home.                       

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Q: Stony Plain being where it is, 25 miles or so west of Edmonton, is it safe to assume that it’s Oilers territory? What’s a Flames fan to do?

A: Yes, it is big-time Oilers territory, or as the people of northern Alberta label it, “Oil Country.” It is almost a religion in the Edmonton area, comparable to Buckeye football in Columbus. It is pretty rare to see a proud Flames fan in Edmonton.

Q: What about the Eskimos? Compared to the Oil, do they have much of a following?

A: Personally, I don’t follow the Eskimos or the Canadian Football League. They have a respectable fan base, but it cannot compare to the popularity of the NHL in Canada, or the NFL and NCAA here in the U.S.

Q: Just east of Stony Plain is Spruce Grove; is that a rival community, or do Canadians even think that way?

A: When I was young and played minor hockey in Stony Plain we always looked at Spruce Grove as our biggest rivals. As I got older, our hockey associations merged, and my former rivals on the ice were now teammates. The two communities are only separated by about a mile, so it’s basically just one city to me.

Q: Based on my research, former Oilers goaltender Grant Fuhr is the most famous person from Spruce Grove; who is Stony Plain’s claim to fame?

A: I know that former NHL goalie Glenn Hall, who played in the 1950s and ’60s, resides in my hometown. Our local rink is called the Glenn Hall Centennial Arena.

Q: What was it like to go from a town of 17,000 to a campus with three times that many people?

A: It sounds crazy when you put it that way. There was a little adjustment because there are so many students and the campus was so much larger than what I was used to in high school, but it didn’t take too long to become accustomed to it.

Q: Wait a second. We’ve been talking all this time about Stony Plain and you haven’t mentioned it was once known as Dog Rump Creek. Were you trying to conceal this?

A: This is the first time I have heard this, and I wish you hadn’t told me. There is a pond in our town named Dog Rump Creek and I always thought that was strange, but it makes some sense now. I used to spend hours playing pond hockey on the frozen surface as a kid.

Q: How would you describe your hockey career at OSU, in terms as playing time from your freshman to senior year?

A: I think my game has developed a lot over my four years here. As a freshman it took me some time to adjust to the speed and style of the college game, as well as learning what it takes to be successful at this level. Working hard on the ice and in the weight room on a consistent basis has definitely paid off, and has made me a more impactful player.

Q: Would you describe your game as more plumber or painter? Or is there a better word?

A: I don’t think any player likes to be called a plumber, so maybe grit and skill would be better terms. Throughout my career I feel like I’ve always brought a mix of both, depending on what my role was.

Q: Are you an agitator, or is it just a coincidence that you’re tied for the team lead in penalty minutes?

A: It might be a coincidence because I wouldn’t call myself an agitator. I’ve spent more time in the penalty box than I (and probably my coaches) would have liked this season. It’s good to play with some feistiness, but you have to be disciplined.

Q: What’s your favorite way to get under an opponent’s skin?

A: I believe the best way is on the scoreboard. Some guys like to chirp, or give someone a shot when the ref isn’t looking, but personally I would rather let our team’s play do the talking.

Q: On a related topic, is there anything in hockey better than a Gordie Howe hat trick (goal, assist, fight)?

A: I had a Gordie Howe hat trick once in juniors and it was pretty special, but I would definitely take a regular hat trick over the Gordie Howe. There’s nothing better in hockey than scoring goals.

Q: There’s a story behind every jersey number; what’s yours with No. 19?

A: My favorite player growing up was Joe Sakic of the Colorado Avalanche, and he was No. 19. I chose the number from a young age and it has stuck with me from squirts to college.

Q: Every hockey player ever has a nickname; what’s yours and how did you get it?

A: Hockey players are pretty original when it comes to nicknames. Typically, you take your last name and remove the last syllable, then add a commonly used suffixes. In my case, my nickname has almost always been Millsy, and like many hockey players, being called by your first name has become unusual at the rink. My teammate, Matt Miller, shares the nickname, so there tends to be some confusion in the dressing room.

Q: What’s your idea of a perfect pregame meal?

A: Over the years I have consumed so much chicken and pasta for pregame meals that I do not enjoy either anymore. Recently I have switched it up, so I would say salmon, rice and broccoli. Also, I always like to have a coffee pregame.

Q: How about a “cheat” meal; what do you eat when you want something good that may or may not be bad for you?

A: For the most part I try to maintain a fairly healthy diet, but I definitely do have a couple guilty pleasures that get the best of me. A bag of chips or a milkshake can be so satisfying sometimes.

Q: What musical artist gets you ready to play on game day?

A: Luke Stork is the DJ on our team, so in the dressing room his playlist is on the speakers. I would say Post Malone has been a popular artist in our dressing room.

Q: You can be only one: Dog person or cat person?

A: This is easy — dog person. My family has two dogs, Sid and Gordie, and we have never owned a cat. I have always loved dogs, and I plan on getting my own puppy within the next couple of years.

Q: You can pick only one: Sidney Crosby or Connor McDavid?

A: Growing up an Oilers fan makes me a little biased, but I’ll go with McDavid. He plays such a fast and exciting game, and he is still so young so I think he has the potential to become even better. That said, Crosby is a back-to-back Stanley Cup champion and playoff MVP, so you can’t go wrong.

Q: On a scale of 1-to-10, how much will you miss watching NHL players in the Olympics?

A: 10. The Olympics is supposed to feature the best in the world at their sport, so I’m a firm believer that NHL players should be there. One of my greatest hockey memories was watching Crosby score the game-winning goal to win Olympic Gold for Canada in 2010. If you don’t remember, it was against the U.S.

Q: Ouch. So does Canada have any chance of medaling without its big guns?

A: I think they do, but it will be difficult to win the gold. Even though the best Canadian hockey players are in the NHL, there are plenty of good players in European leagues, most of which have NHL experience. I am curious to see how the countries do without their superstars. My prediction is Russia will win the gold.