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Miele Focused on Earning Roster Spot

Sunday, 09.11.2011 / 6:59 PM / Features
By Dave Vest
GLENDALE – As he did last season playing NCAA hockey and later at the Coyotes Prospect Development Camp in July, center Andy Miele is turning heads at the team’s ongoing training camp for rookies.

“I’m here to earn a roster spot,” Miele said after Sunday’s on-ice workouts at Jobing.com Arena. “To do that, I’ve got to compete 100 percent the whole time I’m here.”

Andy Miele. Photo by Norm Hall.
Miele, of course, signed with the Coyotes after he completed his senior season at Miami University last spring. Although he practiced with the team for a few weeks, he never got into a game. The 2011 Hobey Baker Award winner/ESPY nominee for Best Male College Athlete is hoping to change that very soon.

“I chose to sign with the Coyotes because there is opportunity here down the middle and I want to be here now,” Miele said. “I want to play with the best players and against the best players, and to do that I have to be here and I am going to work my hardest to do that.”

To that end, Miele, who stands 5-feet-9 and weighs 175 pounds, spent his off-season trying to get into the best shape of his hockey career. He worked out five days per week with personal trainer Mike Hackett. Twice a week they would partake in Syphus Training, a type of circuit training in which a list of physical tasks must be completed within an hour’s time.

“What I really needed was explosive power and that’s what it gives me,” Miele said. “It’s a new style of working out and I loved it. It has prepared me very well for this camp."

Miele led the nation in scoring last season by notching 71 points - 24 goals and an NCAA-best 47 assists - in 39 games. He credits his coaches and teammates for his success. He also credits a professor/sports psychology course he took at Miami that he said made him a better player and teammate.

“It completely changed the psychological part of the game for me and the way I communicated with players,” Miele said of the course, which was instructed by Dr. Robin Vealey. “It taught me how to stay focused, how to rebound after making a bad play and how to limit negative thoughts. Instead of getting angry at myself and agonizing over a bad play, it taught me to take deep breaths, regroup and get back out there and make the right play the next time. I think that really helped me last year and will give me an advantage here this year.”

I always had bigger buddies that would pick on me and mess with me, but I think that is what toughened me up." - Andy Miele
Because of his size, Miele often is asked if he plays with an “I’ve-always-got-to-prove-myself” attitude. The answer is yes, but he said his work ethic and his confidence in his abilities have served him better than playing with a chip on his shoulder.

“You have to bring your best every day and you have to work your hardest,” Miele said. “That’s what separates you the most from other players; how hard you work. If I work my hardest out there the rest will come.

He added, “I did not like hockey when I first started playing because I was always one of the smaller players on the ice. I always had bigger buddies that would pick on me and mess with me, but I think that is what toughened me up.”

Martin St. Louis, Daniel Briere, Derek Roy and other smaller-sized NHL players are role models for Miele.

Ray Whitney. Photo by Getty Images.
“I love watching those guys play,” Miele said. “I grew up right outside of Detroit so I got to see the Red Wings play a lot of NHL teams, so I’d see a lot of those players and their skills. But ever since I signed with Phoenix a player that I’ve grown to love watching is Ray Whitney (5-feet-10, 180 pounds). I’ve learned so much from him already. He’s unbelievable out there with his pursuit on the puck and his ability to make plays and the players around him better. I’ve enjoyed watching him play and I hope to be able to learn from him more this season.”

Miele may get that chance if he can show the coaches in training camp that he can complement his crafty offensive game with NHL-level defense.

“Andy is a real good kid who works hard and he is a clever player,” Development Coach Dave King said. “The one aspect of the game he’s going to have to address is can he play well enough defensively to stay up here. He’s never going to physically overpower anyone so he’s going to have to be very good positionally.

He added, “He’s a very high achiever. This guy is trying to prove he’s better than you think he is because of his size, and I think he can do it.”

Andy Miele poses with Erin Andrews at the 2011 ESPYs. Photo by Scott Norton.
Miele is expected to log plenty of minutes when the Coyotes rookies play the Los Angeles Kings rookies in games set for Wednesday and Thursday in El Segundo, Calif.

His approach to those games will be simple.

“I just want to stick to my game and I don’t want to try and do anything that I’m not supposed to be doing out there,” Miele said. “I like to make players around me better so that’s what I’m gong to do in those games. Hopefully the coaches will see that and they’ll think that I can help the Coyotes this upcoming season.”

SUNDAY’S SCRIMMAGE

The Red Team beat the White Team, 4-0, in a 37-minute scrimmage. Spencer Bennett, Dannick Gauthier, Kurtis Gabriel and Chris Collins scored the goals.

Gabriel, Gauthier and Collins are at camp on amateur tryouts. Bennett has an AHL contract.

The rookies will scrimmage/practice again at Jobing .com Arena on Monday starting at 10 a.m. Fans are welcome to attend free of charge.
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