This month’s alumni spotlight focuses on Andrew Milne.

Growing up in St. Albert during the 1980s was an easy time for any kid to become a fan of the game of hockey and more specifically, the Edmonton Oilers.

It certainly helps when your one of the people living in your neighbourhood is all-time NHL great, Mark Messier. This is what the childhood was like for current Canmore Eagles head coach Andrew Milne.

“I lived very close to him (Messier) growing up and I wanted to be just like him,” Milne said of his childhood hero.

Milne started skating when he was three and got into hockey because his older brother played the sport. He went through the St. Albert Minor Hockey ranks before going off to play in the Alberta Junior Hockey League with the hometown St. Albert Saints before moving on to the Western Hockey League’s Spokane Chiefs, Medicine Hat Tigers, and Swift Current Broncos. He amassed 131 career WHL games over parts of three seasons and played in 13 playoff games.

Milne attributes a lot of his on-ice success to his minor hockey experience.

“I had some great coaches over the years who provided me with tools I would need not only on the ice but off the ice as well,” Milne said. “I loved the idea of a team and having everyone working together towards a common goal.”

If Milne had advice for anyone just starting out in hockey it would be to “have fun, enjoy the time at the rink and not to rush the process,” he said. “You’ll have the chance to make new friends through the people you meet and the opportunities you’re provided.”

Once his playing career was over, Milne stayed in the game of hockey by getting involved with coaching. Milne was an assistant coach with Swift Current during the 2000-01 season and then became an assistant coach with the Kamloops Blazers for two seasons in 2006-07 and 2007-08. He was hired as the general manager and head coach of the Eagles leading into the 2008 campaign and has been with the team since.

“I was able to use my motivation in hockey to help encourage me to get my degree from the University of Alberta,” Milne said. “I am very grateful for the game of hockey as it allowed to me travel the world and see places I never would have gotten the chance to see otherwise.”