Despite many people believing Carolinians just enjoying watching cars go around a track, we are proud supporters of hockey. Overcoming the southern stereotypes, and being a true hockey fan means supporting your team, your league, and other leagues across the country. I had a great opportunity to learn more about our junior hockey system and the NAHL’s Bismarck Bobcats through their forward, Nicholas Miglio.
Nick hails from Boerne, Texas and is entering his second year with the 2010 Robertson Cup Champions. Born November 5, 1991, #23 comes in at 6’ 175 pounds. Nick played in 46 games with Bismarck last season and tallied 4 goals, 12 assists with a plus/minus rating of +9.
Miglio was named Most Improved Player of the 2010-11 season. “Nick’s really started to figure out what it takes to be successful at the junior hockey level,” said Head Coach Layne Sedevie on Miglio back in January. “He’s made the transition nicely and is getting better everyday he’s on the ice.”
So, with a Caniac on one end of the line and a Bobcat on the another, Nick and I chatted about hockey and life in the juniors.
KP Kelly: Not a ton of hockey fans are familiar with the American junior hockey system and how it works. How do you think it compares to the major junior leagues of Canada?
Nick Miglio: It is the same idea, but our goal here is to get to college. We can’t get paid and we can’t get all the benefits they get up there, because it will take away from our college eligibility. It is the same idea, but like a preparation league, like a feeder league into college.
KP: This is your last season of juniors, what are your goals for the 2011-12 season?
NM: As a team, I want a national championship ring. I have been close the last two years. I was one win away from winning it two years ago and this past year we were four wins away. Personally, I want to be a recognized player in the league. To have a better year and for people to know who I am.
KP: Well, some Carolina fans will know who you are now. Which makes me wonder, do you have a favorite Canes player?
NM: (after some muffled office discussion) I would have to say Eric Staal. I heard he works out pretty crazy.
KP: How would you describe your style of play?
NM: Balls to the wall. I like to go hard when I’m out there. I like to go fast and throw my weight around too. I guess I’m more of a grinder.
KP: Any pre-game rituals?
NM: I have thousands. How much time do you have? On ice, I always like to go out first and then my Dad always told me when I was younger to go in hard and fly in. Then about a minute left in warm-ups I stretch at the red line and between every period I stretch at the red line too.
KP: How do you handle being from Texas and playing up in North Dakota?
NM: I have gotten used to it. I thought it would be much worse than it actually is, but I guess being a hockey player and always being in the ice rink I have gotten used to it. I did have to upgrade my wardrobe a little bit. I had to go out and buy a nice North Face jacket. (A black one in case you were wondering.)
The famous Angry Birds shirts. (From left: C. Mosey, C. Aus, N. Miglio)
KP: I’ve been told you have a thing with your Angry Birds t-shirt, what’s the deal?
NM: Last year, in playoffs, we won our Central Division championship and we had to do a play-in series against the Michigan Warriors to get to Nationals. We wouldn’t have time to go home and get cloths, we had just packed for that one day. So we all went to the mall and there was a JC Penny with a huge display of Angry Birds shirts and I thought it would be funny to get one. My other buddy on the team, Charlie Mosey, he is going to Dartmouth this year, he got one as well.
Paul Teeple (Director of Bobcats Broadcasting): That was his formal wear too, because the team went out to a fancy steakhouse that night and he and Mosey were wearing their Angry Birds shirts while a lot of the other guys were in nice shirts. He just did a TV interview the other day wearing the shirt.
NM: I bring it out every now and again.
KP: You have a girlfriend back in Texas, working on getting into college, work, and play with the Bobcats. How do you handle it all?
NM: I just try to take it one step at a time. Hockey comes first, of course. I do what I need to to prepare for hockey and then with what time is leftover over, I work. Me and my girlfriend like each other enough and respect each other enough to stay together. It just comes naturally.
KP: Going into the next season, you are no longer wearing the title, “Mr. Irrelevant.” Did you wear that title like a badge of honor last year?
NM: When the draft ended, something came up on Twitter. It said the draft had ended and there were no more picks and I was kind of mad I wasn’t picked. Then something popped up five minutes later that I was drafted. I called my Dad and was like, “Man, I not gonna make the team, I was drafted last, everyone’s gonna make fun of me.” He told me I had to take it with pride. You are Mr. Irrelevant. Whenever someone would make fun of me, I would just asked them when they were drafted and they wouldn’t even remember even remember their number.
KP: You mentioned Twitter, has being on Twitter been difficult to know what to post or how to interact with fans?
NM: My first tweet was supposed to say “tweeting” but it autocorrected me to “teething” and that was that. I quit it for awhile. I didn’t understand it. Then I heard all the hype of BizNasty and saw other famous athletes were doing it, and I kinda got into it. Then I got everyone on the team into it too. I have a bunch of kids from San Antonio following me and their parents on Facebook. I am friends with my girlfriend’s parents and my parents, so I am used to the whole being conservative thing.
KP: What is your favorite movie of all time?
NM: I couldn’t pick one. I’d have to pick between two. One is Happy Gilmore and number two is Dumb & Dumber.
KP: Anything you would like to say on behalf of your team?
NM: It is going to be a fun year and I am excited. I think we are going to do really well this year.
Paul Teeple: I have one question for Nick. Fifteen guys are coming back from last year’s Division Championship team, that is a lot of expectation. What are you and the vets doing to manage expectations early on?
NM: I just think we need to not get ahead of ourselves and not get too cocky. I think that’s what happened to a lot of teams last year that had a lot of returners. Alexandria for one, I guess they beat us 10 times in a row and I think they got a little too cocky or ahead of themselves because we beat them when it count. I don’t want that to happen to us this year. Just don’t ahead of ourselves, know that we are capable of being beat.
It’s time to spread that southern hockey hospitality, Caniacs. We have a competitive new team and talented new player to support! There are many easy ways track the Bobcats throughout the season. You must follow Nick on Twitter @lilmiggs47 (His avatar alone is worth a follow.) as well as the team @BismarckBobcats and Paul Teeple @pcteeple.