Wednesday, June 08, 2005

IceDiggers promote assistant to head coach

New Alpena IceDiggers head coach Ken Miller

The Alpena IceDiggers filled their vacant head coach and general manager position Tuesday when they hired assistant coach Ken Miller.

Miller, a 30-year-old Toledo native, has been the assistant coach of the IceDiggers the last four seasons. He has also served the last two seasons as assistant GM and was the general manager of the team for the 2002 season when the team won the CEHL championship.

“I’ve been waiting for this,” Miller said. “It’s kind of bittersweet because I hate to see (former IceDiggers coach) Mike (Mankowski) go, we’re such good friends, but I’m really looking forward to this opportunity. I’ve been an assistant coach under Mike for five years and I’m ready for the next step.”

As the team’s assistant Miller has been primarily responsible for bench coaching, scouting and game-day operations. Ken also worked with former Toledo Storm GM Pat Pylypuik in Toledo’s minor hockey scene for several years before joining the IceDiggers.

“We are very excited to have a guy with such experience to promote into the position,” said IceDiggers president Mike Bihn. “Ken has been involved with the organization from day one and is the best guy for the job. We are confident he will take the team to the next level.”

Miller said he doesn’t see too many challenges for his first year at the helm of the Junior A franchise.

“I’m just looking for the kids to buy into the system and give 110 percent,” he said. “Things are going to change a bit, they always will when you bring a new coach in.”

Miller is eager to begin his new job. He’ll start working in Alpena immediately.

“My family and I are very thankful for this opportunity,” he said. “I am looking forward to becoming a member of the Alpena community. I am also excited about the group of kids that we have recruited for this season.”

Miller and his wife, Stephanie, will reside in Alpena throughout the year, along with their two-year-old daughter, Kadyn.

Courtesy of the Alpena News.

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