Milestones Through Time and Dedication: Brian Miller

What makes a hockey team great? It’s not just the practices and the games, but it’s also everyone and everything that happens off the ice. For the Petes, that has included someone dedicated to the success of the club for over 20 years and counting. Brian Miller, better known as BMan, has made himself available for anything that the team needs.

Although he joined the maroon and white in 2002, Miller’s journey in training and equipment started long before that. While attending Brock University for his undergraduate degree, volunteers were needed for student therapists. As he was already in school for Physical Education, Miller made his way to the Sports Injury Clinic for training. Throughout the year, he worked with the Men’s Rugby, Men’s Hockey, and Men’s Volleyball teams. By working with these teams, Miller decided to follow a new path and headed to Sheridan College for their Athletic Therapist program. Following graduation, Miller was fortunate enough to get hired by the Guelph Storm and has worked in the industry ever since.Mar. 2 Brian Miller 1000 Games Presentation HQ 1

Entering into the 2022-23 season, Miller will be hitting some milestones in his career that not many can say they have achieved. On November 25th 2022, he will have worked 1,300 games for the Peterborough Petes, on December 1st 2022, he will hit 1,500 OHL games between the Petes and the Storm, and on January 29th 2023, Brian will hit a career milestone of 2,000 professional games worked. “It doesn’t really seem like that long until you really stop and think about it,” comments Miller.

Throughout his time, Miller has worked as an athletic therapist for the Guelph Storm (1993-1996), head trainer and equipment manager for the AHL’s Saint John Flames (1996-2002), and the Peterborough Petes (2002 – onward). With many years of experience come many memories. For Miller, the best memory didn’t include a game at all. “The favourite moment from my career was the Calder Cup championship parade in St. John,” Miller mentioned. “There is a bunch of other cool stuff related to my job, but this was neat. The whole city shut down for a couple of hours and people lined the streets. It’s one thing to play and have people in the seats but a championship parade is a one-time thing and they are very memorable and special.”

Despite the success, working as a head trainer and equipment manager comes with its own set of challenges. “Having a family and also this role, time management is the most challenging part,” adds Miller. “Trying to maintain that balance of putting in the hours I need to do my job and do it well at work but also trying to find that balance with my family. I wanted to be present in my kids’ lives and attend their school and sporting events. Not only my kids but my wife as well. I want to make sure I’m putting that time into our marriage to make sure it is strong and healthy, and we’ve been married for 30 years so hopefully, I’ve done a good job.” During the season, Miller focuses on hockey but the Petes have allowed him to focus solely on family during the off-season, creating that balance.

20221103_Miller_BrianWith the hectic schedule of a hockey season, as an equipment manager, no two days are the same. “For about 15 years, I was the only trainer and the only equipment guy so my days were a lot different,” Miller said. “ Now we have an athletic therapist on staff so I mainly focus on equipment stuff, but it’s never boring.”

“A usual day involves stuff like laundry, skate sharpening, equipment repair, ordering stuff, maintenance of the dressing room, and doing regular checks of the equipment. But I also talk to players and check in with them for a variety of issues whether it be equipment or medical stuff. Practice days are one thing, game days are another. Home games versus away games, there are different time commitments and responsibilities. When you are hosting a game you are doing stuff for the away team and for away games you are doing a lot of packing and travelling and unpacking and adapting to a new rink.”

Busy days don’t end for Miller when he leaves the rink. He and his wife, Esther, have opened their home to their son, daughter-in-law, and three granddaughters. “They have twins who are almost 4 and the youngest is 2. They are busy girls but we love having them with us,” Miller comments. “ I am fairly involved with my church, Auburn Bible Chapel, in a leadership role so there are some time commitments there. I’m also involved in an organization called Hockey Ministries International, mostly during the summer helping out with the summer camps they run.”

Hockey seems to be something that runs in the Miller family as all three of his sons have played hockey at some point in their lives. “My oldest, Josh, was actually drafted by the Saginaw Spirit but never ended up playing. He is now working his way through training to become an OHL official,” mentioned Miller. “ My middle son, Luke, played both AA and AAA but mainly played Jr. C locally in Peterborough. My youngest, Noah, played AA and AAA and a little Jr. C like his brother. All aren’t playing anymore and just mainly focusing on working.”

With the dedication to his work, the Peterborough Petes and the hockey community are extremely lucky to have Miller behind the bench. With a supportive family and a few championships under his belt, there look to be many more milestones in Brian Miller’s future.

A man of faith, family, and commitment to his job, season after season, Brian has successfully navigated a hectic hockey schedule while also making time for his family, his church, and his life outside of sport; an impressive feat that is highlighted by the career milestones he is hitting in the 2022-2023 season.

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