Greater Sudbury still feels like home, Milley says
“It has been great, though, and the staff has been awesome, (general manager) James Boy and (assistant GM) Jan Egert have been great, and we feel we have a really close group of players. We have a young team, but a really close group of guys and I think that will help us out in the long run.”
Ottawa had a 4-3-1-0 record heading into a game in North Bay on Thursday night. Sudbury owns a 1-4-2-0 mark and is still searching for its first win at home.
Milley, one of the more skilled offensive players in Wolves history, collected 368 points in 259 games with the Nickel City squad from 1996 to 2000. He remains the last Sudbury player to top the 50-goal plateau, having done so twice.
A second-round pick of the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres in 1998, he split time between the big league and minors before starting a successful career in Germany, even winning a scoring championship in 2012.
He looks forward to returning to the Elgin Street Barn.
“As soon as I got the coaching job here, I looked at the schedule and the first thing I looked at was playing in Sudbury,” Milley said. “I lived up there even while I was playing pro, on Agnew Lake, I still keep in close contact with my billets and I have a lot of close friends in Sudbury, so it’s a home away from home.”
He remains grateful to the Burgess family, longtime former owners of the Wolves, as well as current executives Blaine Smith and Ken MacKenzie.
“Those are all people who helped me along and there’s definitely a lot of great memories there,” Milley said. “Sudbury will always have a special place in my heart.”
Today’s OHL is a less physical, yet faster and more skill-oriented game than during Milley’s own playing days, yet he feels players can benefit from much of the same advice, including some he wishes he heard sooner.
“Realize the opportunity you have at hand,” he said. “Don’t take it for granted. It’s such a short span of your career, only four years maybe, and you have to learn so much in those four years and you can’t let any day slip by, because you’re constantly under the watch of people, always interviewing for your next step. You can’t take any days off.”
Friday’s game marks a demanding three-in-three weekend for the Wolves, which also includes travel to Peterborough on Saturday at 4 p.m. and Oshawa on Sunday at 6 p.m.
They’ll have little time to rest before returning home to host the Soo Greyhounds in a rare Wednesday game. Faceoff is set for 7 p.m.