EVANSVILLE, IN – This week I had the privilege of talking with second-year pro and returning Evansville Thunderbolts goalie Tanner Milliron for a one-on-one Q&A.
Tanner is coming back for a second season with the Thunderbolts, who are looking to better themselves after the 14-32-10 overtime record from their inaugural season in 2016-17. Milliron finished the season with 11 wins and 17 losses with four overtime losses and three shootouts not going in the rookie goaltenders favor.
Justin Rieber: How old were you when you started playing hockey, and how did you first get involved in the sport?
Tanner Milliron: When I was young I was always exposed to hockey through my parents since my dad grew up playing and coaching in my hometown. I was six-years-old when I started playing hockey and have never looked back.
JR: With SPHL teams providing housing for their players, does that encourage the team to spend time off together? What do you do in your down time?
TM: I do believe that being in the same area with housing does have its benefits. All the while, I do believe that even if our house was spread out that team cohesion would stay the same. Just like any individual or groups, you have the guys that like to golf or workout as well as the groups that are more home-bodies and use their time to relax. I think all groups go through their phases of activity throughout the season.
JR: Which goalies, past or present, do you enjoy watching, and what do you try to take from their technique to add to your own? How would you describe your playing style?
TM: I have always been an advocate of watching all sports and trying to pull away small aspects of their game. From a goalie standpoint, I like to think that I steal certain skill sets from not just one but multiple high-end goalies. I won’t giveaway too many but, for example, I love the way Pekka Rinne is one of the only goalies in the NHL that will go out of his way to catch a puck across his body on his blocker side. Puck possession is key at the pro level, and to some coaches, it looks uncontrolled. It tends to be little things like that can flip and slow the game down.
JR: During the offseason, you stay pretty busy by helping other goalies better themselves in the goalie camps. Other than those camps what are some other the things you enjoy doing during your offseason?
TM: When I am not working hard helping run our training business you can find me in one of three places. The gym, golf course, or home relaxing. I am a total workaholic and if I’m not doing something to grow myself in business or physically/mentally in the gym or at home reading, time seems to stop. I need to be on the move 100% of the time.
JR: When preparing for the upcoming season what are your main goals that you want to come from your hard work during the off-season?
TM: The main point I wanted to work on is reiterating over and over is the finer details of fundamental movements and saves. Doing the fundamentals at a consistently high pace over and over to create a consistent result. Over thinking is one of the worst things an athlete can do so doing the small things right to paint the larger picture is where I focused the most.
My thanks to Tanner Milliron for taking the time to sit down with me and chat. Look for him and the rest of the Thunderbolts on ice in just over two months!