Today Miles Wood turns 27 years old. The second longest-tenured New Jersey Devils forward made his NHL debut during the 2015-16 campaign and has appeared in 326 career games and collected 121 points (65 goals, 56 assists). Sadly he missed last season after having surgery on his right hip. He attempted to come back in late March and played three games before the decision was made to shut him down for the remainder of the 2021-22 campaign. There is a lot of excitement about getting a healthy Wood back on the ice, as his presence was missed last season. Here are four fun facts about the Devils’ winger.
1. Wood Attended the Same Boarding School as Two Other Devils Players
Wood attended the Noble and Greenough School in Dedham, Massachusetts. The five-day boarding school is for students in grades seven through 12 and was founded as an all-boys preparatory school for Harvard University. The now co-educational school is 10 miles outside of Boston and its list of alumni includes three hockey players who suited up for New Jersey including Wood, Mark Fayne and the late Jimmy Hayes. Wood never suited up alongside Fayne who was a member of the Edmonton Oilers when the Buffalo, NY native made his Devils debut but did play with Hayes during the 2017-18 season in New Jersey.
Related: Meet the New Devils: Miles Wood
It was also during this time that Wood first came in contact with future teammate Brian Boyle. During an interview in 2017, he recounted the event and admitted the 6-foot-7 veteran wouldn’t likely remember their meeting.
“I was picking up pucks and I walked in [to the locker room] behind him,” he said. “He probably doesn’t remember this story but I do. I looked up to this guy and said ‘Oh my God,’ because he’s 6-5 or whatever. He sat down in my stall and I thought it was the coolest thing in the world that a pro hockey player is sitting in my stall.” (from ‘Miles Wood details funny encounter with new Devil Brian Boyle back in high school’, NJ.com, 07/14/17)
2. As a Child Wood Wrote a Letter to Ovechkin Requesting an Autograph
The 6-foot-2 forward eventually lived out his childhood dream when he played against this idol, Alexander Ovechkin. At the age of 11, Wood wrote a letter to the Washington Capitals’ captain asking him to autograph his hockey card. Within the letter, he wrote that if Ovechkin didn’t sign and return the card he would check him the first time he got the chance to play against him when he made it to the NHL.
The card was never returned, but sometimes things are worth the wait.
Fast forward to Dec. 29, 2016, when Wood was in the lineup at Verizon Center preparing to faceoff against Ovechkin and the Capitals. During warmups, he recalled the moment they acknowledged each other.
“When I was in warmups I looked over at [Ovechkin] and we smiled at each other type thing,” Wood said during an interview with Tom Gulitti. “That was good to see him out there. He’s huge in person, so that’s something I learned.”
After the game the two players met in the hallway and Ovechkin apologized for not sending the card back. All’s well that ends well though as Wood finally got his autograph, and did not deliver on his promise to check Ovechkin during the game.
3. There Are 4 Teams Wood Has Not Registered a Point Against
It is hard to believe Wood will be entering his eighth season wearing the Devils’ crest. He scored his first career goal against the Winnipeg Jets in 2016 and earned a hat trick against the Chicago Blackhawks in 2017. Throughout his career, he has collected goals and assists, but after all this time there are still a handful of clubs he has yet to celebrate against. The Seattle Kraken are obvious because he has yet to suit up against the league’s newest franchise thanks to last season’s injury. The other three are the Colorado Avalanche, Dallas Stars, and San Jose Sharks. He will get a chance to rectify these stats as his team faces the Sharks on Oct. 22, the Avalanche on Oct. 28, the Stars on Jan. 27, and finally the Kraken on Jan. 19.
4. Wood Almost Stopped Playing Hockey to Pursue Golf
Back in 2019 MSG Networks published a video asking ‘Which Devil Has The Best Golf Game’ and after some debate, it was determined Wood would take that title. Former head coach John Hynes, Andy Greene and Kyle Palmieri gave him the honors and the physical forward admitted that he almost stopped playing hockey to pursue golf. If fans scroll through the winger’s Instagram account they will come across a video of a younger Wood out on the green. During an exclusive interview with team reporter Amanda Stein, he talked about how last season’s injury and recovery would have been easier to deal with if he in fact was a golfer.
“The hardest thing for me is if I played golf, it wouldn’t be a problem because it’s all about me, but when you bring a team environment into that choice, you’re not only hurting yourself, but you’re hurting the team. That was the toughest pill to swallow,” Wood shared in an exclusive interview with NJD.TV.
The now 27-year-old signed a one-year contract worth $3.2 million on Aug. 4 and will be an unrestricted free agent at the conclusion of the deal. Wood will have to prove last season’s obstacles won’t slow him down as he hopes to rediscover his game over the next several months. He has previously stated he likes head coach Lindy Ruff’s system and thinks it can benefit his game. The head coach is just as excited to get the winger back, and during an interview with Stein, said he is really looking forward to him being healthy because he is a big part of the team.
Kristy has been contributing to The Hockey Writers since March of 2021. She is thrilled to be putting her journalism degree to use and is a credentialed correspondent covering the New Jersey Devils. Kristy is also a member of the Professional Hockey Writers Association. You can follow her journey on Twitter @InStilettos_NHL and Instagram SkatingInStilettos.