Hockey goalie Ryan Miller seemingly came out of nowhere to become the unexpected American hero of the winter Games with his amazing performance during the upset of Canada.
But the 29-year-old Michigan native who plays professionally in Buffalo was well known before his Olympic heroics in one unlikely place: Hollywood.
Miller got a congratulatory Tweet from Alyssa Milano after the U.S. beat heavily favored Canada, 5-3 (Miller made a staggering 42 saves). He’s also dating actress Noureen DeWulf, Matthew McConaughey‘s costar in Ghosts of Girlfriends Past. His love life has even piqued the interest of a certain L.A. radio host who also stars on American Idol.
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“Ryan Seacrest has called me about this,” Miller says with a laugh, noting DeWulf came to Vancouver to watch him play last week. “She’s special and she’s learning to love hockey, but when I visit her in L.A., I watch her do her thing and hang in the background.”
Miller, whose day job is playing goalie for the Buffalo Sabres in the NHL, says he met DeWulf through a Hollywood connection close to home.
“My dad is friends with actor Tim Busfield, and I saw Tim in Phoenix when Buffalo was playing the Coyotes last year and Tim was shooting a Lifetime channel miniseries, Maneater. His costar was Noureen, and when I met him and the cast for a drink with friends he introduced us.”
So what has been his quintessential Hollywood moment? “I went to a party with Noureen,” he says, “and found myself talking with this guy for an hour and didn’t realize I was speaking with Ryan Gosling until about an hour into the conversation.”
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As for his own performing talents, he likes to strum the guitar around the campfire. “I have played for 12 years and can fake about anything,” he says. “I can’t sing but I’ll play for friends when I go camping.”
He’s also involved in charity work. After his cousin Matt Schoals was diagnosed with cancer at age 16 in 2005 (he died two years later), Miller started the Steadfast Foundation to help cancer patients and their families. “It was really rough on the entire family,” says Miller, who honors his cousin’s memory by painting “Matt Man” on his Olympic hockey goalie mask.
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