Hasek helps Sabers honor goalie Ryan Miller.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Ryan Miller grew up idolizing goaltender Dominik Hasek, and signed with him. Buffalo sabers In 2002, he envisioned a day with his name and number hanging from the arena’s rafters.

Not only did Miller’s dream come true on Thursday night, but he was also surprised to welcome Hasek to the exclusive club with Sabri via video from his home in the Czech Republic.

“Ryan, I’m honored to be a part of your night. As a goalie, we know what the position demands, all eyes are on you,” Hasek said before Buffalo’s game against the New York Islanders. said during an event held. “I’m proud of the history we’ve both made here in this city, in front of these fans.”

Taking over as Buffalo’s starting goaltender in 2005, four years after Hasek was traded to Detroit, Miller established himself as one of the franchise’s best over 10 seasons with the team.

“It was just amazing that he said good things about me because that’s exactly how I would watch his hockey,” said Miller, who had 30 goals during his junior and college careers at Michigan State. Hesk wore number 39 before. Sabers as a fifth-round pick in 1999.

“I wanted to keep my relationship with the fans. I wanted to keep my identity,” Miller, 42, said of separating himself from Haske. “It’s great that taking this different path has led us to the same place.”

Miller broke some of Hasek’s records, and still ranks first on the franchise list with 284 wins, 540 games played, and the single-season mark of 41 victories. From East Lansing, Michigan, Miller’s 391 wins — two more than Hasek — over four teams in 18 seasons, ranks first among American-born goalies, and 14th overall.

He retired from the NHL two years ago after four seasons with Anaheim. He also played with St. Louis and Vancouver.

Miller is best remembered for his time in Buffalo. In 2006 and ’07, he led the Sabers to consecutive Eastern Conference finals, losing to Buffalo both times.

And then came his Vezina Trophy-winning season in 2009–10, in which Miller led the United States to a silver medal at the 2010 Vancouver Games, where he was named tournament MVP.

For all his stops around the league, and now making his home in Southern California, Miller has a passion for Buffalo.

“I really enjoyed my time here, and I’m glad it was an impactful time, and the fans enjoyed it,” said Miller, who has been a part-time NHL consultant on goalie rules. “But it’s also a time to reconnect. I love Buffalo, and I want to be around more and I can be around now.”

Joining Miller in the on-ice ceremony were several former teammates, coaches and family members. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman was also present on the occasion.

“He was the backbone of this team,” former Sabers forward Thomas Vanek said of Miller. “For me as a player going into every game I knew we had a chance to win because we had Ryan Miller.”

Miller couldn’t resist poking fun at the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Sabres’ cross-border rival, in a comment that drew the loudest cheers of the event.

Said Miller: “I wanted the whole city to wake up in a good mood because we beat the Maple Leafs the night before.”

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