Howard Herman: Berkshire School grad Kevan Miller on Bruins' blue line
If the Bruins do as their fans around here hope they do, Berkshire School in Sheffield will get a former player's name on the Stanley Cup.
Kevan Miller is No. 86 in your program and No. 1 in your heart, if you are a fan of Berkshire School sports.
It's been a pretty eventful 2014 for Berkshire School hockey alumni. Kacey Bellamy and Kendall Coyne brought home silver medals from the Winter Olympics in Sochi. Miller and the Bruins will begin the quest of Lord Stanley's cup later this week.
But for the Santa Clarita, Calif., native, his hockey journey really began in Sheffield.
"It was a decision between juniors and prep school, and we chose to go to a prep school," Miller said. "Looking back, those were three of the most fun years of my life.
"I developed as a hockey player there and it was a great experience."
The Kevan Miller resume shows that the defenseman went from Berkshire School to the University of Vermont, where he played for coach Kevin Sneddon. Miller was a two-time captain at UVM and graduated in 2011. He signed a free agent contract with the Bruins in 2011 and played six games in Providence.
The defenseman spent two full seasons in Providence and was with the Baby B's this year before he got called up to make his NHL debut Nov. 21 at home against St. Louis. He returned for good Dec. 31 and has signed a two-year contract.
"My dream was to play in the NHL and I finally made it here," Miller said. "I'm just hoping to continue to play well and keep going."
The Bruins won the Presidents' Cup on Saturday, which is given to the team that has the best record in the league.
For his part, Miller seems to get between 20-30 shifts per game and will see between 18-23 minutes of ice time.
Miller often finds himself on coach Claude Julien's third defensive pairing. Going into Saturday's game, Miller has either been even or had a plus-rating in 20 consecutive games. The last time the defenseman had a minus rating was Feb. 26, when he was minus-1 against Buffalo.
Now that Kevan Miller is with the Bruins, team athletic trainer Don DelNegro isn't the only member of the organization who could find Pittsfield or Great Barrington without a GPS. DelNegro is a North Adams native and the former director of sports medicine at Williams.
How does a hockey player from Southern California end up in Southern Berkshire County?
"One of my PeeWee coaches in California, his son had gone to Berkshire, and he had recommended it," said Miller. "It was the only school I applied at and looked at."
Miller's time predates the Stewart Athletic Center, the school's new hockey facility.
"It's unbelievable. That whole campus is completely redone," he said. "I haven't skated in it yet."
But Miller almost didn't pick hockey. At Berkshire, he was every bit as good a soccer player as he was a hockey player.
Miller said his post-graduate year at Berkshire, his hockey and soccer skills were pretty even.
"When I first got [to UVM], it was a big decision for me. I tried to go to Vermont for both soccer and hockey," he said. "It was just too much to do. I chose hockey and it's been my passion since Day One."
For that, the Bruins are thankful.
To reach Howard Herman:
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On Twitter: @howardherman