Oliver Miller is what we call a “puck dog” in hockey. He devotes much of his weekly schedule to the ice, cultivating a love for hockey that he has had since his childhood.
The junior from La Jolla Country Day School is currently playing for the Anaheim Junior Ducks, a youth hockey club that takes him to Irvine three times a week for after-school practice, as well as weekend games in various locations, sometimes as far as Canada, Michigan and Pennsylvania .
Oliver, 16, joined the team this year after playing for several years with the San Diego Saints hockey club. Many of his players play for the Junior Ducks or the Los Angeles Junior Kings.
Oliver also played hockey at the 2019 Maccabi Games, which he says are “the Jewish Olympics.”
He said his normal stance was forward, “generally playing right or left.”
Josh Robinson, who coaches the Saints, said Oliver was “a top scorer every year,” which Robinson attributed to his speed, vision and strong skating skills.
He’s a “fun and competitive player,” said Robinson.
He said Oliver is “not afraid to be the first to play with the puck, and he loves to take the puck and play with it. … He’s not afraid to get his nose dirty.
Oliver has been playing hockey since the age of 5, encouraged by his father Craig. “He’s from Detroit,” Oliver said of his father. “He loved hockey as a kid, he still loves hockey so much, so he really wanted to get me involved from a young age. “
Oliver said he learned to skate on the rink at Westfield UTC shopping center, playing for various children’s teams before staying with the Saints.
“When I play I just feel free and I don’t have to worry about stress or anything,” he said. ” That makes me happy. “
He enjoys the “battle” aspect of the game, which has also taught him life lessons, he said. “It definitely teaches you how to be a teammate and a good leader, and also helps you get through tough situations. … It just teaches you that you have to work hard and you will get there.
Beyond his skills on the ice, Robinson said Oliver was “one of the most popular and beloved in the locker room” among his teammates at the Saints, who elected him captain in the last few years of his tenure with them.
Oliver said it made him “feel good because … all the kids on the team voted. It’s hard to become the leader of your peers when they’re all the same age and about the same skill level. competence, so it’s really an accomplishment.
When not skating, Oliver surfs or plays basketball or football with friends or family.
“I definitely want to play college hockey and play in the US Hockey League or the North American Hockey League,” Oliver said.
“My goal is… as far as I can take it,” he said. “I want to take it, because I love it.”
La Jolla Athlete of the Week features high school athletes from all sports (La Jolla High, The Bishop’s School, La Jolla Country Day School) and other local youth sports. We are not only looking for the stars of the competition, but also the student-athletes who lead by example in terms of teamwork, academic success and / or community involvement. Please send your nominations and a way to reach your nominees by email to editor Rob Vardon at [email protected] ??