Fife Born, Les Millie started ice skating at just 5 years old, moving into hockey a short time later and then progressing from playing “house league hockey” to becoming a regular member of the Fife junior development team, the Kirkcaldy Kestrels.
At just 14 years old, Les was deemed good enough to be called up to the senior Fife Flyers ice hockey team by coach Jack Dryburgh, for an away game against the then formidable Dundee Rockets for a Grampian Cup game.
The following season, 1988 – 89, Les became a regular for the Fife Flyers, playing a total of 35 games and scoring 10 times.
This was a time of change for the Flyers, having decided to switch from having 3 North American imports and a “dump and chase” hockey style to playing a more European passing game with the inclusion of 3 imports from the former Czechoslovakia with Vincent Lukac, Jindrich Kokrment and Milan Figala joining the club.
Sadly, Kokrment suffered a broken leg midway through the season, with the Flyers, rather surprisingly, choosing North America to source their replacement import, forward Tim Cranston.
Fast forward to 1992 – 93 season and after a “falling out” with the Fife coach, Brian Kanewischer, Les made the decision to move south to join the first of the arena teams, the Sheffield Steelers.
Nicknamed ‘Laser Les” by Steeler’s front man, David Sims, the 19 year old Les, with help from ex Fliers team mate, Neil Abel, quickly settled in and became a firm favourite with the Steeler’s fans.
The early nineties were good times for Les, playing on the same line as ex Flyers team mate Tim Cranston and Canadian/British dual National Tommy Plommer. They were part of a team that achieved incredible success in a short space of time.
During the 3 seasons of Les’s career with the Steelers, the team achieved promotion (twice), a League title and a play off Championship. A highlight of which must have been scoring 3 times (including a penalty shot) in the Heineken Wembley play off semi final to gain revenge over the Cardiff Devils for the previous season’s Playoff final drubbing.
However, all good things must come to an end and after the terrific success of the past year (scoring 52 times), it became clear early in the new 1995 – 96 season that, with new signings coming into the club, he had slipped down the pecking order.
The lack of ice time caused Les to re-think his position at the club and after a conversation with coach Alex Dampier, Les decided to move on, returning to his former club, the Fife Flyers.
Back to Fife
After a telephone conversation with the Flyers player coach, Mark Morrison, Les decided to return home to Fife and re-sign for the Flyers and although never reaching the heady heights of the previous few seasons, Les had a really enjoyable year, playing 28 times and scoring 23 goals.
The following year he signed with the Solihull Blaze, however his love for Sheffield never died. Despite a couple of successful seasons with the Blaze (74 games, 90 goals), Les found his way back to the ‘Steel City’ where he put down roots. After his hockey retirement, Les is now a branch manager for one of the UK’s largest distributors of vehicle components
Thanks for the memories, ‘Laser’ Les.
Click the link to listen to the Les Millie Podcast interview .