BUFFALO, N.Y. — They say legends live in the rafters, and Ryan Miller is now one of them.
Two decades ago many fans didn’t even know Ryan Miller’s name, but on Thursday night, thousands flooded the arena wearing it, as the legendary goaltender was enshrined in Sabres history when his No. 30 was retired and his banner was lifted to the rafters.
“I'm just so happy for him,” Sabres fan Michele Ricks said. “I think it's a great testament for his legacy, and he was always a great guy and a fun player to watch. And we're really happy to see it, and then take the time to come out and see it happen.”
Thursday's ceremony brought out fans like Michele Ricks, who has been a fan of Miller’s during multiple stages of her life when the two were students at Michigan State, for a decade here in Buffalo, and during her 20s when Miller was making saves and coining catch phrases with the Rochester Americans.
“I remember one time he came to the game he played for the Americans at the time,” Ricks said. “And he wore his Michigan State goalie mask and had the ‘Miller Time’ written on the back. And then everybody started bringing huge signs in the audience that say ‘Miller Time,’ and that sort of started a tradition back then.”
But as much as tonight is about his time on the ice, fans say it’s who he was off it that they’ll always remember.
“When you have players who were as passionate as he was about the game and his work ethic, it just resembles our city. That's who we are as people and he brought that mentality. And that’s why I loved him,” Sabres fan Jacob Kroll said.
While Miller’s time on the ice here at KeyBank Center ended nine years ago, he will now live above it forever.