Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Wranglers' Adam Miller proves his speed in hockey skills competition

Father on hand to watch son take win in ECHL All-Star Skills Competition

By Anthony Fenech

Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2010 | 2:05 a.m.

ONTARIO, Calif. — Steve Miller remembers the first time his son Adam put on ice skates.

He helped tie the laces.

He remembers the early Sunday morning hockey practices, the pond games and watching him play four years at Ferris State.

He definitely will remember Tuesday night.

Adam Miller, now the Las Vegas Wranglers' center, won the Reebok fastest skater competition at the 2010 ECHL All-Star Skills Competition with a time of 14.29 seconds.

"It was awesome," Adam said. "And to have my dad here with me made it that much better."

Miller, the fifth of six skaters, picked up steam toward the second half of his run and accelerated to the finish line. Toledo Walleye forward Maxime Tanguay appeared as if he might challenge Miller's time but slipped up.

"Just being named to the All-Star team was an honor," Adam said. "This is the cherry on top."

Watching from Section 115 as his son skated, Steve likely was the most nervous of the 4,368 in attendance at Citizens Business Bank Arena.

"It was hard watching, I'll tell you that," he said. "It just means the world to our family, and we're so proud of him.

"To get to this point in his career is amazing, and it's a testament to his hard work. I'm so gratified."

Miller finished ahead of Tanguay and the Idaho Steelheads' John Swanson.

He didn't stop there, later scoring in the breakaway competition as the National Conference defeated the American Conference 11-10.

The Millers drove from Las Vegas together and "spent some real quality father-and-son time," Adam said.

The two reminisced about how Adam had gone from wobbling on skates and getting whistled for being the sixth man on a too-many-men penalty his first time out, to being named to a professional all-star team.

"He got out there and was all ankles on the ice, falling around," Steve said. "Then he got called for the penalty and shrugged his shoulders like, 'What did I do?'"

Adam remembers his first skate, too.

"I fell and I fell and I fell," he said, laughing. "Oh, and my dad had to lace my skates."

Other winners from Tuesday's ECHL All-Star Skills Competition:

Hardest shot: A.J. Thelen, Florida Everblades, 101.9 mph.

Rapid fire: Braden Holtby, South Carolina Stingrays, nine saves out of 10.

Accuracy shooting: Ryan Kinasewich, Utah Grizzlies, 4-for-4.

Puck control relay: Evan Barlow, Idaho Steelheads; Chris D'Alvise, Stockton Thunder; John Lammers, Alaska Aces.

Individual puck control relay: Peter Lens, Ontario Reign.

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