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15 Minutes With: MIKE LIAMBAS


By MARK CONCANNON

February 2017

Photo by DAVID SZYMANSKI

Mike Liambas is excited about returning to Milwaukee for a second tour of duty with the Admirals. He played here from 2012-15, and moved to AHL rival Rockford last season. Now he joins the Admirals as they transition from playing at the BMO Harris Bradley Center, their home since 1988, to the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena. I spoke with the left winger after a recent practice.
 

How do you like your new digs?

Itís been awesome. Itís a better atmosphere because itís a smaller building. It feels like the fans are right on top of you. Theyíre louder.

Did you see our locker room? Unbelievable. That locker room is probably the best Iíve seen in our league. Itís better than some NHL locker rooms right now. (The arena benefited from renovations totaling $6.3 million, including $1.5 million for locker rooms.)

The city just in general is great. Iíve been to other places, and for sure this is my No. 1 spot Iíve  ever played.  And Iíve played in Orlando, Fla., but this still takes the cake.
 

What was it like growing up outside of Toronto?

I have two brothers. We all played hockey. They were both goalies (neither brother plays professionally). My poor parents; goalie equipment is really expensive. 

One of us would always be with another family on one of the teams ó whether my parents would take one of my brothers separately and Iíd go with a parent from another family, or someone would take my brother on a road tournament and my family would be with my other brother. It was hectic. I owe my parents for putting up with all the practices and games.
 

What was the worst bus ride you endured?

When I played for Cincinnati, we were busing from Orlando, Fla., to Elmira, N.Y., 17 hours. We got on a bus in Orlando at 9 at night and bused all the way overnight.
 

Have you always done volunteer work?

That was ingrained in me from the start of Junior Hockey. We did a lot of stuff with schools. 

The thing that probably saved my career was I did volunteer work with the Shriners Hospital in Erie, Penn. That summer, 2009, I had a hip surgery in Cleveland. I came back for training camp, and I couldnít walk. 

Then I got to know the nurses really well and the head doctor, Dr. Schranz, got ahold of my MRI. Dr. Berg, who is a leading hip specialist at Vanderbilt and does work with the Predators, was coming to Shriners in December to do hip scopes to teach other doctors. Dr. Schranz put in a recommendation that I be one of them, and Dr. Berg performed my second hip surgery. If it wasnít for them, I donít know if Iíd be playing hockey today.

Photo by DAVID SZYMANSKI

My FIVE Favorite Things!

1
The Lumineers. We got to see them in Nashville this year during training camp.

2
Fishing. I fish down by McKinley Marina.

3
Chicken wings at Points East Pub on Jackson Street. Theyíre unbelievable.

4
Tom Hardy. I love his roles, especially the one in the movie ďLawless.Ē

5
My dog, Roxy. I got her from the Wisconsin Humane Society a couple of years ago.







 


This story ran in the February 2017 issue of: