Sixteen-year-old Nick Magyar will be leaving behind his family, friends, teammates and school Thursday for the other constant in his life -- hockey.
Magyar, a junior at Mentor High School, played until recently for the Cleveland Barons Midget Minor team and is committed to play hockey for Ohio State University in 2014.
He was drafted fourth overall into the United States Hockey League by the Sioux City Musketeers last year. He is moving to Iowa Thursday and will play with the Musketeers until he begins college.
Magyar said, while moving will make him a better player, it's still tough to leave everything behind.
"It wasn't a difficult decision," he said. "Obviously, I'm sad that I'm leaving my friends and family but it's the right decision hockey-wise."
Magyar's love and commitment to hockey started when he was very young, his mother, Joelle Magyar, said.
He was three years old when he went to Mentor Ice Arena on New Year's Eve. Even though it was his first time on the ice, he had some natural balance and enjoyed it; so his mother agreed to him taking skating lessons.
During an early lesson, he saw the Mentor High hockey team take the ice and he was immediately fascinated, Joelle said.
"He looked at me with his eyes as big as saucers, pointed at their hockey sticks and he said, 'I want one of those,'" she said.
So the Magyars bought Nick a $10 stick and he started playing.
Coaches saw his talent and encouraged him to join increasingly competitive leagues until he signed up with the Cleveland Barons at the age of eight, where he remained -- rising up the ranks -- until this Thursday.
"People saw him play," Joelle said. "They saw he had talent and kept pushing him the way he needed to go."
For Nick, the Musketeers are just the newest step in what has been a life-long process.
"It's definitely a lifestyle," said Nick, who practices about four hours a day. "It's part of my life and I'll never change that."
Magyar will stay with a billet family and take classes online from Mentor Schools while living in Iowa.
"I want to graduate with my friends," he said. "I'm basically still in Mentor Schools."
Whil Nick is practical about the move, Joelle is understandably emotional about her son leaving.
"I can talk about it," she said. "I know it's the best thing for him to do and it's a great opportunity. But if I think about it, I become too emotional."
When asked what it is that he likes about hockey, Nick doesn't talk about scoring or hitting opposing players. He talks about the feeling and his commitment to the game.
"I like the feel of it," he said. "Even that first time I was on the ice, I couldn't leave. I had to keep going. I live on the ice. I can't leave it."