December 2, 2019

Alumni Profile: Nick Miller

Years with the Bombers: 1953-64
Position: Flying wing, defensive back
Currently resides: Winnipeg
Occupation: Retired; formerly General Manager of Jim Pattison Toyota in North Vancouver, B.C.
Family: Two sons – Todd and Scott; Brother – Bill; Sisters — Shirley and Susan.

5 Quick Facts about Nick Miller

  • A Winnipeg product, Nick Miller was part of the Bombers glory years of the late 1950s/early 1960s and helped the team win Grey Cup championships in 1958, 1959, 1961 and 1962. He played his amateur football with the Winnipeg Light Infantry junior program and then with the Winnipeg Rams, who captured the Canadian Intermediate Championship in 1954.
  • Miller was an exceptional athlete, not only playing football but excelling at soccer and basketball, winning soccer championships with the Luxton Royals and Winnipeg Scottish and basketball titles with the YMHA and the Kings Best Bombers and Labatt Blues.
  • Miller played both sides of the ball during his career with the Bombers and was lauded by coaches and teammates for his versatility. Said Ken Ploen of Miller: “Nick could play offence or defence, block, kick, defend against the pass, return punts or kickoffs or be a receiver. Nick did about everything except drive the team bus.”
  • An active member of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers Alumni Association, in 2007 Miller worked extensively with Leo Ledohowski of the Canad Inns Corporation to help 40-plus surviving members of the Grey Cup teams of the 1950s-1960s get Grey Cup rings.
    The custom of teams providing championship rings to players didn’t become customary until the late 1960s and while players did occasionally have the option to buy them, the cost was exorbitant on the salaries then. Ring maker Jostens helped with the project and developed a 10-karat, yellow-gold ring as part of the gesture.
  • Miller was the recipient of the Tommy Lumsden Trophy as the Bombers Most Valuable Canadian in 1963, was inducted into the Winnipeg Football Club Hall of Fame in 1996 and the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame in 2015.

Fondest memory playing with the Bombers:
Winning the 1961 Grey Cup in overtime (21-14) and, as well, the ‘Fog Bowl’ a year later — played over two days (December 1-2) because of the fog which had rolled in over Toronto’s Exhibition Stadium.

Proudest football accomplishment:
Being selected as a winner of the Tommy Lumsden Trophy as the team’s top Canadian. It was a coach’s selection back then and it had great meaning as Tommy was a teammate before he passed away.

Proudest non-football accomplishment:
Working with Leo Ledohowski and the gang at Canad Inns Corporation to help get Grey Cup rings for the surviving members of those teams from 1958-62.

Favourite hobby/past-time:
It used to be golf, but now it’s working on the Blue Bombers Slumni board.

Prized football possession:
My Grey Cup ring.

Four former teammates you’d love to have dinner with again:
Jim Van Pelt; John Varrone, Dave Burkholder and Jack Jacobs.

Most-talented Bomber player you played with was…
Gerry James. Very talented athlete, a great guy and a super competitor.

Bombers coach who had the most influence on you:
Bud Grant – He taught us all how to win.

What you miss about playing football:
The locker room atmosphere and being around my teammates.

What you don’t miss about playing football:
Two things: training camp and two-a-day workouts.