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Mitchell Miller named USHL Player of the Year

By Kendall Grayson, 05/31/22, 7:45AM PDT

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Defenseman awarded for historic season

KEARNEY, NE. – Tri-City Storm defenseman Mitchell Miller has been named the United States Hockey League’s (USHL) Player of the Year and Defenseman of the Year for the 2021-2022 season. Miller joins former Storm defender Ronnie Attard as the second player in organizational history to win each award. He scored a league-leading thirty-nine goals and notched forty-four assists during the regular season. Miller set multiple league and team records, and was named the USHL’s “Defenseman of the Week” seven times during his two-year career with the Storm organization.

 

 

Mitchell Miller, 20, of Sylvania, Ohio, broke the USHL’s all-time record for most goals netted by a defenseman in a single season on April 1st, 2022, in Tri-City’s 4-0 home shutout of the Sioux Falls Stampede at the Viaero Center. Miller eclipsed the previous league record held by former Storm defenseman Ronnie Attard with the goal. He set a new team record for most powerplay goals scored in a single season during the same game. He scored his seventeenth powerplay goal of the year thirty seconds into the 3rd period to set the new record. Miller broke the Storm’s single season scoring record on April 9th, 2022, in the Storm’s 4-3 home victory over the Sioux City Musketeers at the Viaero Center. Miller’s thirty-sixth goal of the regular season gave him the new organizational single season record after he tied former Storm skaters Rastislav Spirko (2003-04) and Chris Wilkie (2014-15) with his thirty-fifth goal of the season earlier in the same game. He netted back-to-back hat tricks on March 6th, 2022, in Tri-City’s 8-3 home win over the Lincoln Stars, and on March 11th, 2022, in the Storm’s 8-2 home victory over the Fargo Force. Miller also broke the organization’s single game record for most points by a defenseman during the six-goal win over Fargo at the Viaero Center on March 11th, 2022. His five points recorded in the game (two goals, three assists) broke a tie with several former Storm defenders who had each notched four points in a single game.

 

Miller achieved multiple single-season and career organizational records by the end of the 2021-2022 regular season. He became the first defenseman in the league’s history to score more than thirty goals and notch more than eighty points in a single season. He finished the year with eighty-three total points after scoring thirty-nine goals and recording forty-four assists. His twenty-one powerplay goals were the most scored by any player in the USHL this season, and were the most netted by a Storm player during a single season in the organization’s twenty-two-year history. Miller’s thirty-seven powerplay points were the most by any defenseman in Tri-City’s history. His ten game-winning goals during the 2021-2022 season were the most scored by any player during a single season in the Storm’s history. Miller’s seven multiple-goal games this season were the most by a defenseman in the organization’s history. He became the first Storm defenseman to finish a career with a plus/minus rating of +50 or higher at the end of the 2021-2022 regular season. His twenty-two career powerplay goals were the most scored by a defenseman in the organization’s history. Miller’s twelve career game-winning goals were the most scored by a defenseman in the Storm’s history.

 

Miller scored eight goals and recorded twenty-five assists for thirty-three total points during the 2019-2020 regular season. He was acquired by the Storm on May 31st, 2019, in a transaction with the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders. Miller was named the USHL’s “Defenseman of the Week” a league-leading four times during the 2019-2020 regular season. He scored his first goal as a member of the Storm on December 1st, 2019, in Tri-City’s 6-3 road victory over the Lincoln Stars. Miller finished the 2019-2020 regular season as the Storm’s leading defensive scorer with twenty-five points in forty-four games played. Miller was named to the All-USHL First Team for the 2019-2020 season. He was the 111th overall selection in the 4th Round of the 2020 NHL Draft following the 2019-2020 regular season.

 

He appeared in fifty regular season games, and six Clark Cup Playoff games for the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders prior to joining the Storm for the 2019-2020 season. He was selected 17th overall in the 2nd Round of the 2017 USHL Phase I Draft by the RoughRiders, and appeared in two games as an affiliate list callup during the 2017-2018 season. Miller made his USHL debut on October 28th, 2017, in Cedar Rapids’ 4-3 road victory over Team USA at USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth, Michigan. He recorded his first career point by recording an assist on a second period goal during the same game. Miller scored his first career USHL goal on October 13th, 2018, in Cedar Rapids’ 6-3 road loss to the Sioux City Musketeers. He finished the season as the RoughRiders’ leading scorer among rookie defenders.

 

Miller scored fifty-one goals and recorded eighty-two assists for one hundred and thirty-three total points during his USHL career. He skated in one hundred and fifty-four career regular season games, one hundred and four of which were with the Tri-City Storm. Miller finished his USHL career with a plus/minus rating of +54. He scored two goals and notched three assists during eleven career Clark Cup Playoff games. Miller skated for the HoneyBaked and Compuware youth programs in Detroit, Michigan prior to his junior hockey career in the USHL. He was selected to and participated in USA Hockey’s Under-15, Under-16, and Under-17 Selects events. Miller was selected to the prestigious USA Hockey Hlinka Gretzky Cup in 2018. He was a member of the United States’ Gold Medal Winning Team at the 2018 World Junior A Challenge in Bonnyville, Alberta. He won a Bronze Medal with the team in the 2019 edition of the event in Dawson Creek, British Columbia. He skated in the 2020 BioSteel All-American Game in Plymouth, Michigan. Miller’s 2021-2022 season is widely regarded as the greatest by a defenseman in the USHL’s forty-three-year history.

 

"It is such an honor to receive this award! I had a couple of goals I set for myself before the season started, one of which was becoming the USHL’s Player of the Year, so it is very awesome that I achieved that goal. I would like to thank my teammates, coaches, and everyone who made this award achievable. This year has had many highs and lows with our team, but the guys and the coaching staff really helped us all come together to make the best out of it. This year was an experience that I will never forget, it was amazing! I am so thankful for everyone who supported me throughout the season. I would like to thank Coach Noreen for always supporting me and helping me throughout the year to make me a better player and man. I also want to thank all of my teammates; they made this season one of my favorites. I also want to thank my billet family for everything they did for me throughout my time with them. Lastly, I want to thank my parents and siblings for always cheering me on at home. I could not be more thankful for the best support system ever from Sylvania, Ohio!”- 2021-2022 USHL Player of the Year & Defenseman of the Year Mitchell Miller

 

Our staff is proud of Mitchell and happy for him and his family. He took the opportunity to come back to Tri-City this year and excelled on and off the ice. He took advantage of every rep in practice and was the first guy to volunteer time in the community. He made every one of us better, and I look forward to watching him continue to make us all proud.”- President of Hockey Operations/Head Coach Anthony Noreen

 

“Simply put - Mitchell Miller had a season for the ages for a defenseman in the USHL. He was an every-night presence for us off and on the ice and provided to be a true veteran and leader on our blue line from training camp on through the USHL playoffs. A few years back, I never thought I would see another defenseman in our league break the offensive numbers that former Storm defenseman Ronnie Attard (Philadelphia Flyers NHL) had. This season, we got a chance to see something special and various USHL records be broken by this young man. We are extremely fortunate we had Mitchell as part of our program, and he has an extremely bright future at the higher levels of hockey as he moves forward from our club. It is hard to do what he did as a defenseman, let alone be the dominant player he was throughout the season. His performance this season was certainly one of, if not the best, I have seen in a defensemen in junior hockey in my twenty years, and he is every bit deserving of receiving these two awards today.”- General Manager Jason Koehler

 

No one player was more valuable to a position group or team than Mitchell Miller. His reps and effort throughout the weekdays brought him success each and every weekend this season. I have never seen an offensive threat from the back end like Mitchell was for us this year. His ability to score and lead offense, while maintaining his defensive posture, was truly special.” – Assistant Coach David Nies