We had the pleasure of going to the New York Rangers’ practice facility in Westchester County to watch them practice and interview their left-winger star, J.T. Miller. The facility had heat machines to keep some of the visitors warm while watching the Rangers practice. We watched the players for 45 minutes. They practiced passing, shooting and skating drills. It was really cool because we felt we could almost touch them; we were that close to the plexiglass. At one point when they were playing, two players slammed against the barrier, making it shake. We were so shocked at the sight that we jumped and some of us screamed. We spotted J.T. Miller with the number 10 on the back of his helmet and we tried to keep an eye on him during the whole practice, but we couldn’t because all the players were skating too quickly. We noticed that they also made the figure eight. We thought it was also cool because the puck was flying up against the walls. During the practices, they played scrimmage, worked on feeds and played in tight spaces. We saw each of the players congratulating each other but they were very rough with each other — they were slamming each other against the walls but it seemed pretty funny to them. When J.T. scored, he shouted “yes” and skated off to the lockers.
Next we interviewed J.T. Miller. He shared many details about his life and game. The questions we asked him made him laugh. For example, we asked him, “What do penguins and the Titanic have in common?” When he said he didn’t know, we told him, “They both look good until they hit the ice.” We think he might have liked that joke a little more because he was from the Pittsburgh area. We were surprised about what he eats before the game, which is a lot of salmon, mushrooms, rice and pasta with chicken. He really also enjoys a scoop of ice cream. As a child, he always wanted to be a hockey player. Surprisingly he was never a fan of the Rangers because they always played against his home team — the Penguins. He had the number 10 since he was five and still has it today. He shared that when he gets hit very hard, he dad told him to not let anyone see it and to get back up. When asked about what they talk about in the locker room — he told us that they talk about their families and have a few laughs. His best friend from his childhood is joining him for his Cup Final trip. He said that all his teammates are his good friends. He didn’t regret going to college and that being a Ranger was really fun and exciting. There were a few times that he doubted himself about making the NHL because he spent a couple of years in the minor leagues. He told us he was always a big sports kid — player and fan. He played football, baseball, lacrosse and hockey. Today he enjoys playing golf in the summer and hockey all the time. It was great to learn that his mom travels to all his games. His dad enjoys watching it at home on his couch. He said that math was his favorite subject in school, before it got really hard.
What we learned from interviewing J.T. was that since he learned skating so young, we could get better at something and younger kids can start now too. He inspired us to know that we could do anything we wanted to because of what he achieved. He wants kids to be confident about what they do and follow their dreams.
The facility was fun and nice. It was so cool to be that close to all the hockey players. We enjoyed seeing the other Rangers practice as a team. We felt that J.T. was really nice and it was cool that we got his autograph and pictures. We would love to go back there, but we look forward to seeing him in future Ranger games. We will always be his fan and supporter.