[KHTS] – When Boston Bruins defenseman Kevan Miller takes the ice Tuesday in Anaheim, it’ll be the realization of a dream for the Santa Clarita native.
“Every kid kind of grows up with a dream of wanting to do something, and I think ever since I started playing hockey at age 5 I wanted to play in the NHL,” Miller said.
Miller, 26, fell in love with the sport about two decades ago, when he first started playing roller hockey with a couple of neighborhood friends.
And it took.
While Miller grew up in the Santa Clarita Valley, he has been a lifelong San Jose Sharks fan, because that was the name of his first club team with the West Valley Wolves junior hockey program in Van Nuys.
At age 16, Miller left Canyon High for Berkshire School in Western Massachusetts, and then went on to excel at the University of Vermont before making the Bruins’ minor league affiliate.
“I’ve had a lot of help along the way, and a lot of great coaches,” Miller said. “I think along the way, there are ups and downs in every career, and I was never drafted or given this or that but it’s been a long journey.”
Miller began the year with the Providence Bruins, his third season with the club, after narrowly missing the cut.
He’s spent a few stints with the Boston squad, most recently a nine-game call-up that resulted from injuries in the Bruins’ back line.
“I’ve been called up a few times this year, so I think I understand my role,” he said. “It’s been an ongoing process. They know what they’re getting from me, and I know what they expect.”
The team relies on Miller to a be a steady, physical presence on D, and to provide offense when he can, he said.
The team hasn’t yet given him an indication of his future with the squad, but he played his 10th game Tuesday since he was called up, which could be significant.
NHL rules dictate if a player plays for 10 games, his team must either sign the player or put the player on waivers, where he becomes a free agent whom other teams can sign.
Miller hasn’t been guaranteed a spot, yet, but he’s expected to be in Anaheim on Tuesday, when the Bruins begin a California road trip.
“For this season, to begin with, I came in wanting to make the team, and I fell just short of that,” Miller said. “It was disappointing, but I knew my time would come.”
He credited the support of his family, friends and coaches with his success.
“I’ve been very fortunate,” said the Sulphur Springs Elementary and La Mesa Junior High graduate. “It’s not just me being here, there’s been a lot of support in the background — it’s been my parents, my brothers and my friends and family.”