Miller Takes over Lakers as season re-starts

By Allan Bradbury
Staff Writer

Fort Frances Lakers players returned from the Christmas break to a new interim head coach. Formerly an assistant coach for about a year, Tyler Miller was promoted to interim head coach with the firing of the Lakers head coach Paul MacLean.

Miller first came on under Ron MacKinnnon when MacKinnon took over head coaching duties after the departure of Dave Allison to coach in the US.

The first few games haven’t gone well as the Lakers dropped two games against the expansion Sioux Lookout Bombers last weekend losing 9-5 and 13-3. Last night they lost 8-1to the league-leading Kam River Walleye.

Catching up with Miller in the first few days after the league Christmas break, Miller was optimistic the team could perform better.

“We’ve had some good strong practices, we’ve had some good dry lands, the boys are happy to be back and they came back with a good work ethic,” Miller said. “They understand what our team goals are for the last half of the season. We have about 30 games left, the boys are excited.”

Former assistant coach Tyler Miller has taken the helm as interim head coach of the Fort Frances Lakers, following the termination of Paul Maclean. – Allan Bradbury photo

The team went into yesterday’s trade deadline with a few spaces for players they didn’t fill them all but did manage to pick up Trevor Sanderson a 19-year-old from La Ronge, SK. Earlier this season Sanderson played 19 games with the Red Lake Miners scoring three goals and two assists. Sanderson is coming to the Lakers after a stint with the Cochrane Crunch of the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League where he only played one game

Miller and assistant coach Brandon Bodnar have the reins going forward and will be working to help the young team get better.

“The guys that came back, came back for a reason. They like it here, they like the community, they like the facility in Fort Frances. Everyone who came back has come back with a good attitude,” Miller said. “Myself and Brandon Bodnar are prepared to put everything we’ve got into the next three months.”

“Me and Brandon are really prepared and we have a passion for coaching and we understand we have a young group,” Miller said. “We’ve both worked with younger groups within the Fort Frances minor hockey system, PeeWee AA, Bantam AA and Fort Frances Muskies. We have a passion for coaching and we’re prepared. Away from the rink, at the rink, community involvement. We want to show these kids the next three months what it takes for work ethic and commitment to the team.”

Miller says he and Bodnar know that Fort Frances also has good coaching resources that they can call on if they need help as well.

“There’s a lot of great resources, guys that have coached here in the past, guys that have played some pro level hockey, or college,” Miller said, “Everyone’s easy to reach out to if you have a question or a concern. We’re just thankful we have these people in the community for us to reach out to as resources.”