What does the game rock, paper, scissors and a box of thin mints have in common? Anaheim Ducks backup netminder, Ryan Miller.
Throughout his 17-year NHL career, Ryan Miller has created lasting memories for his fans. Incredible seasons, magnificent playoff appearances, a Vezina caliber season, and claiming the title as the winningest American born goaltender has left us in awe of his inspiring talent. However, it may be Miller’s charming character that has had the biggest impression on fans, especially for Anaheim Ducks fans as of late.
The 39-year-old veteran netminder knows better than anyone how important it is to interact with your fans. Going to an NHL game is an experience in and of itself, but for a young kid with an impressionable mind, walking away from a game, win or lose, with a puck or a stick from your favorite player is a moment that won’t soon be forgotten.
Tossing a puck over the glass is a simple task, and a lot of players do it regularly. However, it is the personal interactions that leave more lasting impressions. The younger generations soak it up like a sponge and will take those moments with them into adulthood as their love for the sport is cultivated and grows.
Granted, the Anaheim Ducks haven’t given us much to be enamored with this season, and that’s what it’s so imperative that the players don’t lose touch with their fans. Over the past week, Ryan Miller has been a shining example of how to strengthen and sustain the fan/player dynamic, with two sweet moments during a game against the Montreal Canadiens and Calgary Flames.
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Winner, Winner, Thin Mint Dinner
Everyone has been raving about his Thin Mint transaction during the Calgary Flames game on Thursday, trading a warm-up puck for a sweet pre-game snack he is saving for later in the week. A young fan made a tempting offer he couldn’t refuse, a puck for a box of thin mints. It was only seconds after he read the sign that he scooped up a puck and settled negotiations.
Dave Stevenson over at our sister site, Puck Prose, said of the trade:
"“It’s almost the NHL trade deadline, so big trades should be coming soon. However, none of them will be as great of a steal as the heist Anaheim Ducks goalie Ryan Miller managed to pull off. Not even Oceans 11 could compare to it.”"
What a stellar trade for both Miller and the inquiring fan. Miller returned his scrumptious prize to the player’s bench, and while he may have put them in someone else’s hands, don’t worry. Miller made it clear to everyone, including his wife, Noureen, that he had no intention of sharing with anyone.
Rock, Paper, Scissors, Shoot!
Another sweet moment from earlier in the week, that may have been overshadowed by everyone’s love for thin mints, was a lighthearted game of rock, paper, scissors Miller played with several young fans in Montreal during warm-ups.
A group of young boys sitting near the glass challenged the goaltender to a game of rock, paper, scissors in exchange for a warm-up puck. Ryan Miller isn’t one to say no to a challenge and obliged, tossing a handful of pucks over the glass when the interaction was over, leaving the young boys giddy with excitement.
This is Why We Love Hockey
It is in these moments that we are reminded of an often forgotten fact. Hockey is more than just a compiled list of stats or the final score. Win or lose, it’s about the memories created between players and fans through their mutual love for the game. Yes, of course, we want our team to be competitive. However, during seasons like this, when the Anaheim Ducks struggle to string together back to back wins, it’s players like Ryan Miller who remind the fans why we love hockey so much in the first place.
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