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#BearTracks Denver: For Liles, Offseason in Colorado is Blend of Work and Play

by Caryn Switaj / Boston Bruins

DENVER — For Bruins defenseman John-Michael Liles, the offseason is non-stop movement.

That doesn’t just come from training for the upcoming season; it comes from chasing around his one-year-old daughter, Ava.

“It’s 100 miles per hour. It’s go, go, go,” smiled Liles.

The 35-year-old veteran blueliner re-signed with Boston on a one-year deal as a free agent in July. He was acquired by the Bruins at the trade deadline from the Carolina Hurricanes.

As part of BostonBruins.com’s annual #BearTracks summer trip this August, Liles opened up his Denver, Colo. home in order to give fans a glimpse at his life off the ice and in the offseason, with Ava and his wife, Erin.

“It’s been great,” Liles beamed, of being a father. “My daughter is just over a year now and it’s been a lot of fun, especially these last two months. Her personality is really coming out. She’s a goof, and it’s been a lot of fun, especially being able to have the summer to kind of share those moments that maybe you don’t have every day during the season just because you’re traveling constantly and working.”

“It’s just nice to be able to spend a little bit more time with her and my wife in the summer and just spend time as a family,” he said.

Liles was originally drafted by the Colorado Avalanche in 2000, selected 159th overall in the fifth round. After playing four years at Michigan State (fellow Bruin Torey Krug’s same stomping grounds) from 1999-03, Liles embarked on his pro career, spending a decade of it with the Avs' organization and eight years in Denver. It also became the place where he met his wife.

“The weather is great, people are friendly, I think it’s a really outdoorsy place and my wife and I are both big outdoors people,” said Liles. “We love to hike, mountain bike, and road bike. Just being outside and taking advantage of the mountains as much as possible.”

“Being from Indiana where the tallest thing is usually the corn,” he laughed. “It’s nice having come out here and played for eight years. To be able to be back here in the summers just because it’s such a special place in my heart, my wife’s from here and my daughter was born here, so, we really love it and we’re really fortunate to be able to spend out off seasons here.”

Liles’ mornings may be spent making breakfast with his family (and picking blackberries with his daughter in their garden), but the next part of his routine involves plenty of work on and off the ice.

On this particular Wednesday for #BearTracks, Liles got in a workout at Landow Performance, with his trainer Loren Landow, running sprints with resistance before spending time in the weight room and getting in a solid stretch.

“This is our third offseason together — and this is the best shape I’ve ever seen him in as well,” said Landow. “So it’s been kind of cool to see a guy at John’s age come in – I think the elites always try to reinvent themselves and try to be better than they were before. And I think John kind of recognizes that he has to get on top of the workouts and workloads earlier in the offseason to be able retain and maintain those fitness levels and performance levels during the season.”

“We did quite a bit,” Liles said of the workout. “Resisted lateral running and movement, unresisted lateral movement, some explosion and then some power conditioning as well, then in the weight room."

“And a little fun bike ride to finish,” he laughed, with an emphasis on the 'fun.' “So that was a blast, but thankfully it’s over with now, and a little cool down and stretch — and back to being Dad for the rest of the day.”

On this afternoon, “Dad Time” translated into time running through water fountains with Ava in downtown Denver.

Training time, and family time: both encapsulate the defenseman’s summer.

“For the most part,” he smiled. “I squeeze golf in every now and again and, occasionally, a date night — the date nights are a lot more tame than they used to be. But summer goes by quick and it’s definitely changed a lot in the last few years with the birth of our daughter.”

After the few months in Colorado, it will excitedly be back to Boston for the Liles family — and this time around, they’ll be able to settle in and get set for the season.

“I was real excited to have the opportunity to re-sign,” said Liles. “I felt like, you know, I was really disappointed that we missed the playoffs and it’s just how it goes sometimes. I was really happy to kind of have another shot.”

“I think we have a great team there and my wife and little one love being in Boston at the end of the year and we were really excited to be able to go back.”

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