THERE is a certain glamour to the life of an ice hockey player in North America’s NHL, but Drew Miller swapped the Motor City of Detroit for a three-month stay in "No Mean City" eight years ago to play for Braehead Clan.

This weekend, in October 2012, Clan, in their third season, made their biggest signing, bringing in an active NHL player in Miller, a Detroit Red Wings player, as a dispute raged between the NHL and the player’s union, NHLPA, over a collective bargaining agreement, meaning the entire league was locked out.

Rather than sit around and wait for a conclusion, he left and spent the time playing to get him in shape for when the "Big Show" resumed but his three months in Scotland became more than just playing to stay fit.

“It got to a point where I just wanted to play and be ready for the season resuming. The best way to do that was to play games,” Miller recalled. "Playing for the Clan turned out to be a great thing for me. It got me out of the house, it got me on the ice and my wife and I called our time in Scotland our second honeymoon.

“The lockout itself was frustrating. There were endless talks and you had to stand firm about what you were fighting for and getting that fair deal. The owners are trying to get to get as much money as they can and as a player, all you wanted was what was right.

“You only had a certain amount of time to be a player so you want to maximise it as much as possible before your body and mind start to tell you differently so to miss out on half a season was tough. Throughout the summer, I’d been skating with the boys in Detroit, getting ready for the new season. With the lockout, all you could do was skate and train. It got boring after a while.”

Miller stayed until January 2013 when an agreement was reached in the dispute, having scored 17 goals and 16 assists in his 26 games under Jordan Krestanovich, as well as earning a Wall of Fame banner for his contribution.

Now working in insurance in Detroit and part of the Red Wings in-house media team since retiring in 2018, Miller believes the ice time he got in Glasgow contributed to a smoother transition into the high standard of the NHL.

“It was a great honour to have a Wall of Fame banner, although I’m not sure I deserve it for the time I was there,” he said sheepishly. “It’s certainly nice to be thought of in that way and I’m grateful to the Clan for awarding me it. Everyone was so welcoming to me and I’m glad to always be part of the organisation.

“Returning to Detroit was great and it was nice to return in the end. Heading back into the training camp, I felt more confident having had the game time I had so I was thankful for the decision I made to come to Scotland. It was the right thing to do from my point of view and a wonderful life experience.

“It’s amazing that it’s been eight years since I signed and it certainly doesn’t seem that long. I had a great time, playing some hockey and seeing some of the sights of Scotland. It was a wonderful experience.”