US ice star is making most of Clan gathering

THE life of a professional ice hockey player can be extremely tough at times.

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Drew Miller (centre) is looking forward to resuming his career with Detroit Red Wings
Drew Miller (centre) is looking forward to resuming his career with Detroit Red Wings

In between being smashed head first into plexiglass, pushed and pulled, clattered into, tripped up and at times set upon, a game of hockey can occasionally break out and you're forced to spring into action.

However, away from the ice, it's important to be able to relax and take stock. Just ask Drew Miller, pictured below.

The 28-year-old has been in the thick of it for Braehead Clan since the start of October, with the Detroit Red Wings ace spending time in Scotland while financial uncertainty has left the NHL back home in lockout, with games currently off until December 14 at the earliest.

So, then, what do you do if you're looking to get away from it all?

"We go down to Glasgow and eat quite a bit," explained the American. "My wife is with me and we've been able to travel around. The team's schedule has been pretty light over the last month so we have been all over the place. We've been up to the Highlands, Loch Ness, we've been to a bunch of castles, too. Edinburgh, Stirling, it's fun.

"We wouldn't have been able to experience these things if it wasn't for the lockout, so you need to try and take some positives from it."

He's not the only one making the most of a bad situation. The failure to establish a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) between league bosses and players has led to many of North America's top stars catapulting themselves across the globe while representatives back home are left to try and thrash out a new money deal.

It has led to the All-Star weekend being scrapped, as well as a host of games, leaving fans in limbo. It's hardly ideal for the players either, with it being announced earlier this week that mediators have now been drafted in to end the squabble.

Miller said: "We get kept in the loop. I try to touch base with a few guys here and there. It's tough, I don't use my phone as much over here as a North American call plan doesn't work out too well if you're in Europe."

Back on this side of the pond, Miller has been impressed with what he has seen so far. The former Stanley Cup winner – ice hockey's answer to football's Champions League – has breathed life into a Braehead team that has huffed and puffed for most of the campaign, with him claiming the man-of-the-match award in Saturday's 7-2 home humbling by Sheffield Steelers.

Player/coach Jordan Krestanovich's side has undoubtly benefited from the experience and skill Miller has brought to the Braehead Arena, although how much longer the New Jersey native will be gracing British ice remains to be seen.

The left wing will take to the ice tonight in Hull as Clan – bolstered by the signing of former NHL man Jesse Schultz and trialist Marti Tuma – enter a three-game series with the Stingrays in an attempt to build some momentum going into the festive period.

Asked if he is planning to stay in Scotland that long, he replied: "We haven't really thought that far ahead. I'm still hoping we can get something done with the NHL. I'd like to be playing games back there before Christmas, but you never know.

"I guess I didn't really think I'd be here for just two or three weeks, but I definitely thought right around this time things would have been a bit clearer.

"I'm lucky enough to have a place to play, I'm enjoying myself, and I'm trying to challenge myself every day and work hard. It's similar to North American hockey, guys are out there hitting and playing more of that style, which is good for me.

"It's not too different from that standpoint, it's just the little things that differentiates guys from the NHL to the AHL back home.

"I have been impressed with a lot of the teams we've played and, of course, the guys at Clan. I didn't really have any expectation coming in. Hockey's hockey, it just feels good to be playing games."

As far as Braehead are concerned, long may it continue.


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