Getting To Know: J.T. Miller

You might not know it, but New York Rangers center J.T. Miller is one of a kind. Not only was he the first of his family to play hockey, he was the first one in his entire town. His first rink was built by his father, and Miller has turned that small, backyard rink into a spot in the NHL.

Status:  New York Rangers center.

Ht:  6-1  Wt: 205 pounds

DOB: March 14, 1993 In: East Palestine, Ohio

First Hockey Memory: “I was one of the first guys to play hockey from my hometown. So my dad built me a rink in our backyard when I was younger. And we had a small backyard. Probably playing out there in the morning before school and stuff, when I was young. That pretty much stands out. It was pretty special.”

Hockey Inspirations: “I’m the first person to play from my family and my hometown. Just kinda picked it up and went with it. I was a big (Pittsburgh) Penguins fan as a kid so I was a big fan of the Mario (Lemieux), (Jaromir) Jagr group.”

First Famous Player You Met Or Encountered: “Oh man, I don’t know the first one. A lot of the Penguins players back in the day.”

Greatest Sports Moment(s): “Greatest moment… probably when we won game seven against Washington (Capitals) last year. That one sticks out, pretty special game. That was my, pretty much, biggest thing I’ve ever been a part of, to this day. Then I won a couple of gold medals when I was younger, winning World Junior Championship, U18, U17, those all stick out.”

Most Painful Moment: “Painful? I broke my leg when I was 15.” (How?) “Got kneed.”

Most Memorable Goal: “Probably my first one in the NHL (vs. NY Islanders).”

Fiercest Competitors Encountered: “(Sidney) Crosby, (Alex) Ovechkin, Steven Stamkos.”

Favorite NHL Uniforms:  “(NY) Rangers.”

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Favorite Rinks To Play In: “Chicago’s fun. (NY) Islanders. Philly (Philadelphia Flyers). Washington.”

Embarrassing Hockey Memory: “Yeah, my first shift I went flying into the boards. At full speed. My first shift in the NHL [smiles].” (What happened?) “I just toe-picked, I fell down.”  (Where was it?) “New Jersey.”

Strangest Game:  “I’m sure there was, I’m not sure how to pick one out…”  (Let me help, for example – Al Arbour said a naked woman jumped on the ice once during a game in Vancouver.)  “I haven’t really encountered that recently [smiles]… When I was younger, we were in a national championship game, we were up 4-0 in the third period and lost 5-4. I was twelve or thirteen. That was unusual.”

Current Car:  “Dodge Durango (black).”

Last Book Read:  “I don’t read [smiles].”

Favorite Ice Cream Flavor:  “Chocolate chip cookie dough.”

Closest Rangers Friends:  “Everybody’s pretty tight-knit.”

Funniest Players Encountered:  “(Marc) Staal, (Daniel) Girardi, (Keith) Yandle, those guys.”

Favorite Sport Outside Of Hockey: “Golf.”

Three Athletes You Like To Watch & Follow: “Tiger Woods, any golfer. Phil Mickelson, any of the guys. Big Pittsburgh Pirates fan. Couple of good players on the team.”

Why Do You Love Playing Hockey: “I picked it up when I was two years old, it’s my favorite sport ever since.”

People Qualities Most Admired: “Just respectful, funny.”