Home Sweet Home: Nick Magill-Diaz

Megan Youngblood

Being a native of Clawson, Michigan and growing up just a few miles from Big Boy Arena, when the chance came to play for a team in his home state, Rocker’s defenseman Nick Magill-Diaz jumped at the chance. 

While living and playing at home was a big reason for reaching out to general manager Nick Field, it was being home and playing in front of his family again that drew him back. 

“I have a very supportive family,” Magill-Diaz said. “They come to literally every game, and I hear them at every game.” 

Magill-Diaz has been with the Rockers for two seasons, but most of this season has been spent with the Pensacola Ice Flyers and Birmingham Bulls. After being gone for nearly two months, Magill-Diaz returned to the Rockers lineup. 

“It’s good to be back,” Magill-Diaz said. “I really like the guys. It’s like a comforting feeling being back.”

Magill-Diaz's return not only brings comfort to him but excites fans who welcomed him back with signs all over the glass for his first weekend back. 

“It was incredible,” Magill-Diaz said. “It just made me smile obviously. Every time I turned a different direction, there was another sign, so it was cool, and it was really good to see.”

Where it all started

Being born in 1997 as well as being from Michigan and seeing the Detroit Red Wings in their prime playing era, it isn't a surprise that the reason Magill-Diaz wanted to play hockey came from watching the Red Wings. 

“I’ve been playing hockey for 22 years,” Magill-Diaz said. “I was the first in my family to play it and it was just from watching the Red Wings when I was young.” 

Now 22 years later, hockey is something that Magill-Diaz relies on when he needs an escape. 

“It’s kind of like my outlet or a release for a lot of things. Hockey is therapeutic almost in a sense.”


Starting hockey at the age of five, which is just a year after it is estimated children start recalling things from memory, it is no surprise that hockey is connected to nearly every memory for Magill-Diaz. 

“I don't really have memories in my life without hockey,” Magill-Diaz said. “I don't know a time when I didn't play hockey.” 

Being that Magill-Diaz can’t remember a time he didn't play hockey means a lot of memories and it's hard to pick just one. For Magill-Diaz, an early one sticks out the most. 

“Winning Nationals with my Grizzlies team in 2014,” Magill-Diaz said. “That was really fun, it was a great year. That whole year and that whole season. I feel like you kind of chase that feeling and feel that genuine love for the game again.” 

Being on travel teams growing up, followed by college, and now minor-professional, has given Magill-Diaz the chance to travel and see places he wouldn’t see because of hockey, one of which being his favorite. 

“We took a trip my sophomore season at Curry,” Magill-Diaz said. “We went to Budapest, Bratislava, and Vienna in Europe. That was just the greatest trip ever. We played three games, and three pro teams as we went 3-0. That was pretty fun.”

While Europe was his favorite place to visit through hockey, Magill-Diaz’s favorite rink he’s played in has to do with the team he grew up cheering for; the Detroit Red Wings.  

Off the ice

When Magill-Diaz isn’t on the ice, you can find him occupying his time at an arcade while enjoying a cold beverage. 

“I like to spend a couple of hours at the arcade,” Magill-Diaz said. “I go with friends, but typically by myself. It is very slept on, but I like to go and get a malt or a milkshake and play games.”

If Magill-Diaz isn’t at the arcade playing one of his favorite games such as Mario Kart or Galaga, you can find him binging shows on Netflix.

“Currently it is Avatar the Last Airbender, the live-action one,” Magill-Diaz said, “Stranger Things always but that’s like a comfort thing. I can just throw that on and I'll either get dialed into it or it’ll be background noise.”

Even though Magill-Diaz wasn’t around for the decade of the 80’s, he feels a sense of nostalgia when he watches it. 

“I don’t know why I just really like the decade of the 80’s,” Magill-Diaz said. “It is kind of nostalgic even though I wasn’t alive for them. I love the music and I love the characters. I just really like the kids honestly the most. I think that was the best part, like season one couldn’t have been better.” 

Stranger Things is not only a comfort show for Magill-Diaz, but it is also the reason behind wearing number eleven. 

“I wear eleven because I like Stranger Things and Eleven is my favorite character,” Magill-Diaz said. 

Aside from being a skilled defenseman, avid arcade goer, and Stranger Things super fan Magill-Diaz also has a degree in psychology.

“I took it [psychology] my freshman year, my first semester and it just kind of stuck with me,” Magill-Diaz said. 

Looking to coach in the future, Magill-Diaz believes that psychology can help when understanding the level he wants to coach at. 

“Because I want to coach at a lower level, not necessarily at a pro level, more development of kids and teenagers, that’s definitely a group where you need to have a little bit of compassion and understanding of behaviors,” Magill-Diaz said.

Lasting lessons

Aside from hockey being something that gets Magill-Diaz out of his head, hockey has taught aspects he can use off the ice. 

“Patience, lots of patience,” Magill-Diaz said. “Everybody’s got different limits or learns in different ways, sees the game in a different way. There’s a lot of communication, just between what you see versus what somebody else sees. Preservice and sticking to it are the main things I’ve learned.”

Lessons aren't the only thing Magill-Diaz has learned through hockey. Thanks to hours of travel and his college teammates, Magill-Diaz also learned to play a popular card game called Shnarps to occupy time while on long bus rides. 

“It's sort of like Euchre but with more cards, and more rules,” Magill-Diaz said. “There’s a trump suit that you can play over top. Once you get your hand dealt you have to bet versus everybody else how many rounds you think you can win and you get five cards, so it's out of five rounds.” 

Hockey has taught Magill-Diaz a lot of different things and will leave a lasting impression on him, but one piece of advice he would give to younger players is a quote from Theodore Roosevelt.

“Comparison is the thief of joy,” Magill-Diaz quoted Roosevelt.

 “Just don’t compare yourself to what you see on social media, what you see everybody else doing around you,” Diaz added to the famous quote. “Just focus on yourself and your development because that’s what matters. Not what somebody else is doing.”