Andy Miele worked hard the first portion of his life to become a professional hockey player.
After his first practice with the Phoenix Coyotes, he already had a story he could share for the rest of his years.
Paul Bissonnette, a 6-feet-3, 220-pound Coyotes tough guy, hit his face on Miele’s helmet, drawing blood.
“I’m sure that story will turn into: Me and Biss got into a fight and I beat him up,” Miele said.
Miele signed with the Coyotes last week and his illustrious first practice was Monday. He said the reality of the situation set in when he was dressing that morning.
“When I was getting joshed in the locker room, I was like, wow, this is unbelievable,” Miele said. “It’s been unbelievable coming out on the ice with some of these guys who’ve been on the ice in the NHL half of my life.”
Miele is currently staying in a hotel in Phoenix. He said the chance of him playing in any of the Coyotes’ remaining games is slim, but there is a chance he could either play with Phoenix’s AHL affiliate in San Antonio if it makes the playoffs.
Having signed a two-year, two-way contract, he could also start next season with the Rampage.
Miele had only been out west once prior to his signing -- when he was very young. While he had other teams interested in him, Miele said he liked the people in the organization and the coaching staff in Phoenix.
He also said he thinks joining the Coyotes will give him an excellent chance to play NHL games.
“You go where you’re the best fit, where you have the best opportunity, instead of being somewhere where you may have no opportunity,” Miele said.
The Coyotes’ future in Phoenix is uncertain, with the potential of a lawsuit by the Goldwater Institute looming as the result of a deal by the City of Glendale and Matt Hulsizer, who is trying to buy the team.
The team could be sold in the next couple of years, with Winnipeg topping the list of cities to which it could relocate.
“I chose this team for the program and how good the guys were, obviously,” Miele said. “It’d be freezing up there, but I’m sure it would still be a good hockey city.”
Miele, from the Detroit suburb of Grosse Pointe Woods, was a diehard Red Wings fan. But that allegiance went away the day he signed with Phoenix.
“I’m a Coyote now, so I hate the Red Wings,” Miele said.
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