Hockey has always been a big part of Aren Miller's life, and things will be no different this coming fall.
The former professional goaltender and longtime minor hockey coach was recently named the new head coach for the Double A Estevan Apex Bruins.
"Talked to the wife and then just kind of decided, if kids were going to start looking elsewhere...I think they needed to know right away who their coach was going to be so they could make decisions," Miller said. So I kind of just stepped up and thought it was my turn to give it a shot again."
The Apex Bruins had an impressive season last year, making it all the way to the provincial final before losing to the Saskatoon Riverkings. Miller expects another strong group for this coming season.
"I think we're going to be one of the top teams again honestly," Miller said. "Obviously the team is going to lose some valuable pieces on the back end and in goal and up front. But we've got a returning goalie, we've got two full-time defencemen returning, and then we got four defencemen returning that have played games."
"I think those kids are coming back hungry. Obviously the team two years ago had a great year, lost out in the south final. And last year those kids came back and took the next step by winning the south, and unfortunately came up a little short in the provincial final. I think with the group we have coming back, it's pretty exciting with some of the kids coming up and some of the kids that didn't make it last year taking another step...I fully expect this team's going to be right back in the top battling for a championship again."
Miller also touched on his coaching approach and the traits he looks for in his players.
"Obviously we want good kids right? We want kids that want to win and want to get to the next level, that's the first thing," Miller said. "I think the kids coming back are going to set a great foundation for that."
"As far as coaching style, I think we want to play a little more upbeat and make it fun for the kids. We're not just going to play a boring game. We're going to chase and we're going to attack."
After coaching his oldest son Jackson last season with the Estevan Bruins Junior A team, Miller will once again be coaching his youngest son Ryder on the Apex Bruins this year.
"He's on the fence of how he feels about dad coaching again, I think he said this will be the eighth year I've coached him," Miller laughed.
Miller added that he still expects to stay involved with the Junior A Bruins after serving as an assistant coach for the last several seasons.
"I'll be around for sure. I'm going to have to probably run some of that by the wife just to make sure, because it comes down to time management right? Working full time, it's just about managing your time the best you can and not getting too worn out," he said.