Miglio’s Night in Silver and Black, 22 Years in the MakingSep 26, 2019
Thursday night’s exhibition opener will launch the 18th season of Rampage hockey. And while nearly 600 players have donned the silver and black during that time, San Antonians have never had the chance to watch one of their own at the AT&T Center.
San Antonio native Nick Miglio will be in the lineup against the Texas Stars, serving as the first local talent to ever play for the Rampage. Currently with the Rampage in training camp on a tryout, the 27 year-old Miglio got his start playing in the San Antonio Youth Hockey Association. With perseverance, he went on to play at the junior, college, and professional level.
Now he will get to play in front of family and friends at the AT&T Center.
“It’s awesome. When you look at all the major pro athletes, all the big players want the chance to play at home,” said Miglio, who grew up in Boerne. “It’s nice to be from here, to come back home where I’m comfortable and get an opportunity like this.”
Coming from an area that hadn’t traditionally produced hockey players, Miglio had the same dreams of playing in the NHL that kids in Minnesota and Massachusetts have. San Antonio features fewer hockey rinks than other cities on the map, but Miglio was a ‘rink rat’ nonetheless.
“It was a lot of skating growing up. I always played up an age group or two,” said Miglio. “I was on the ice a lot. My sister was a figure skater here, so I was always hanging around the rink.”
Miglio said that it was a San Antonio Iguanas game that first got him hooked on hockey. He ‘wanted to wear the same armor as the players,’ he would tell his dad. Shortly after, he was in the Jr. Rampage hockey program.
His career arc has been one of perseverance. A setback that might have derailed a player’s career may actually be what catapulted him forward.
“I tried out for the midget team here, the Jr Rampage team,” said Miglio. “I was 16 and got cut from the team. I was sitting around and didn’t know what to do. I was contemplating giving it up.”
That’s when Miglio was invited to skate with the San Antonio Diablos, a junior hockey team in the Western States Hockey League. Miglio made an impression and stuck with the team.
Miglio continued to battle for opportunity. He was the last player drafted in his year for the North American Hockey League, but made the team and played two years for the Bismarck Bobcats. He pushed his way onto the team at Division III Utica College and played four seasons.
“I’ve never been the flashiest player, but I’ve always been one of the hardest workers,” said Miglio.
While many players see their playing careers come to a close after Division III college, Miglio persisted. He played 91 ECHL games over the course of two seasons and spent last year playing in Germany.
“There are a lot of good players in the ECHL. There are guys who have had seasons in the AHL and NHL. It’s the same thing overseas. They’re really good leagues and I just try to learn from those guys.”
Miglio will have nearly two dozen family members in the stands to watch him play tonight, sitting in the same seats he has sat in his whole life.
“I want to get experience,” said Miglio. “This is a higher level than I’ve played in the past. Guys are bigger and faster and plays are made quicker.”
As Miglio looks to bring his game back to North America, that experience will be valuable, as will the opportunity to perform in front of Blues management.
Defying the odds again and again, the hockey kid from Boerne is living proof that kids wearing the Jr. Rampage jersey today may indeed have a future in the game if they work hard enough.
“Be an athlete and have fun with it,” advised Miglio, who still helps coach kids in the summer in San Antonio.
“Have fun and stay active.”