Monday, April 14, 2008

Miller takes new job in Marquette

The Marquette Rangers will have several new faces both on and off the ice when the 2008-09 North American Hockey League season opens in September.

In addition to signing 10 tenders, Kenny Miller has been named head coach of the Rangers after guiding the Alpena IceDiggers for the past three seasons. Miller will assume his position with the Rangers immediately.

Miller said he’s excited about the opportunity in Marquette.

“When you coach against a team as many times as I faced Marquette over the past two years, you learn quite a bit about them,” said Miller. “Knowing the talent that’s coming back, the tenders that have been signed, and the dedication of the staff, I’m confident we can come in and be successful for the fans. We’ll be busy early with three tryout camps, so I’m anxious to contact the players and get going on this season.”

Miller added that he’s happy to no longer be an enemy for Rangers fans.

“Lakeview is such a great building and the fans do a terrific job at getting on the opposing team from up behind the visitors bench," he said. "It’s a great atmosphere, the Rangers put on a terrific show every night and I’m happy to be on the right side of it now. My family and I are excited to join the organization and we’re looking forward to calling Marquette our home.”

Miller and his wife, Stephanie, have a five-year-old daughter, Kadyn.

Rangers president and general manager David Saint-Onge said Miller was the obvious choice to lead the team as the organization continues to grow.

“Kenny has proven he can win in this league, he understands our division and knows what we need to do as an organization to take the next step in our development," Saint-Onge said. "He has plenty of connections in the hockey business and will be a tremendous asset for us in building a competitive team for next season and moving our players on to the next level, which is our ultimate goal.”

Miller guided Alpena to a third place finish this past season with a 30-23-5 record, and led the club to 37 wins in 2006-07 when the IceDiggers finished second in the NAHL North Division and placed 12 players into NCAA Division I and III programs. Miller was also named North American Hockey League GM of the year after the 2006-07 season.

The Rangers opted not to renew the contract of head coach Randy Enders after the conclusion of this past season, while assistant coach Dieter Kochan won’t be returning because he is entering the law enforcement field.

“We understood when we hired Dieter that it would be a one-year relationship as he was already on the academy’s waiting list,” said Saint-Onge. “He was a great help to us last season especially with our goaltenders and we hope to maintain a relationship with him as a goaltending consultant during this next season.”

Saint-Onge said the decision regarding Enders was a difficult one.

“Not having Randy return wasn’t a decision we entered into lightly,” he added. “It should be noted that Randy took over as head coach during a difficult time in our organization’s infancy in 2007 and helped get our young team back on track after a tough start. Randy is truly a quality guy and this move is not a reflection on him or his character. We just felt our team needed a few more intangibles as we head into our third season. We’re grateful to Randy and his efforts with the Rangers.”

Marquette is currently in preparations for their pre-draft tryout camp May 15-18 at the Berry Events Center.

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