The Misfits Return: How Mitch’s Misfits are planning to return to in person cheering this fall

The first time we saw the power of Mitch’s Misfits as a student cheering section, they were at the Hall of Fame game in the 2019-2020 campaign at Ralph Engelstad Arena. That very same game had in attendance the new leader of the Misfits for the 2021-2022 season, Olivia Wery.

As she said of that experience, and many other positives in her time as a Misfit, along with her choice to run to be the leader of the group, ” the leadership team of our organization has all graduated, giving myself and several others the privilege of continuing on the legacy of Mitch’s Misfits. I feel very fortunate to have been elected president of the organization that has defined my college experience the last two years. On a whim, I decided to sign up for a trip to play the University of North Dakota with Mitch’s Misfits. To be honest, I had never been one to step outside of my comfort zone. But for some reason, I decided it would be a good idea to travel 9 hours in a van with people I had never met to watch a hockey game. I had been quickly welcomed into the tight-knit group of friends with open arms. Going on the trip is without a doubt the best decision of my college years and as president of Mitch’s Misfits, I want to give that same opportunity to others.”

If you have not heard of the Misfits, they are a tight knit group of Michigan Tech Students who travel around the country to watch their team. The Huskies are one of the legacy programs of this sport, have a fanatical following, and draw positive notoriety to the sport unlike many other student sections in this game. They have been known to chant Let’s Go Huskies from puck drop until the first whistle, no matter how long it takes, and they, on their own, competed with the volume of the Ralph Engelstad Arena, just like they do at every road locale they travel to. They also keep flags in John Macinnes Student Ice Arena for every state, province, and country that their players on that team are from. This year, they are adding the flag of Australia, as Tyrone Bronte is coming to play for the Huskies, making him the first Australian Ice Hockey player to play for the storied school.

As Wery said of their next steps,

“Upon the registration of classes for this fall, the university planned to have students attend classes in person. I am sure that this is still the plan at the moment, but we have not received word about the attendance allowed in at sporting events. I am sure that MTU is going to follow the indoor sports fan capacity limit of 25% set by the state of Michigan, but we are hoping that this percent will see an increase before the start of the season (multiple schools in the state are planning for full crowds come this fall, so as of now, things look good for a full house for the Huskies).”

As the State of Michigan lifts Covid-19 restrictions, Wery has every reason to expect her school to follow suit.

Regarding the goal for the season, Wery kept it simple

” We believe that this season our goal is to re-establish ourselves as the best student section in college hockey in addition to keeping alive as many of our traditions as possible. One of these traditions is waving the state or country flag of our starting players when they are called, in addition to waving all the flags every time the fight song is played.”

In addition, she added ” Additionally, we have purchased new cowbells(that come with a lifetime warranty) so that we can come back even louder than before.”

Wery noted the quick response of the school, adding “since the start of the pandemic, the university had been encouraging regular testing of students, staff, and members of the community. In the last few months of the school year, they were able to set up a vaccination site on campus. I had been tested several times on campus and got vaccinated as soon as it became available” As more Huskies, and Michiganders get vaccinated, the state is planning to allow full capacity at its live events, and the Huskies and its Misfits are hopeful that all of them will be able to cheer for their team, in person.

Going forward, she notes how new students can join the Misfits, saying ” We plan on having a booth at the annual student organization fair at the beginning of the school year. It is a great opportunity for students to meet organizations like ours and learn how to get involved. Our booth typically gains a lot of attention because we allow students to hit the gong and play sauce toss if they would like.”

In addition to all of that, she is most excited to have “the atmosphere that comes with having a full capacity. I feel very fortunate to have attended some of the games near the end of the season, but the atmosphere wasn’t the same.” She further went on to lament, saying ” I find it unfortunate that there are two years of new students who haven’t been able to experience the one-of-a-kind atmosphere that we are able to produce at our home games.” She added more depth to her candidacy, explaining that “the reason that I ran for president is that I wanted to introduce these students to the addictive thrill of the atmosphere, in addition to recreating the environment that our players and team staff love to play in every night. ”

Finally, Wery, like the rest of the Misfits, is excited for so many things in the 2021-2022 campaign.

She said ” There are so many things to be excited about. We got some great players through the transfer portal and we’re looking forward to seeing the familiar faces of Mark Sinclair and Justin Misiak for another season. We’re excited to be back in person to hockey games and see familiar faces from the community. We’re excited to play Wisconsin, Notre Dame, St. Thomas, Clarkson, and we always look forward to sweeping Northern! Overall, I think we’re most excited for the season to get going where we are able to attend games in person”

The Misfits are the best, and most consistent student section that we have seen across college hockey. Few rival their passion, and consistency to support of their team, and even fewer travel all around the nation to see their team play, and drown out the opposition on the road like the Misfits can. In the season of getting back to whatever a post-pandemic normal could be, having the Misfits at full strength is a good harbinger of more good things happening in this sport, amidst the challenges it always has, and will continue to face. College Hockey is better for having the Misfits, and Wery is ready for the challenge of leading the loudest student group in this sport.

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Virtual Misfits in Real Life: How Mitch’s Misfits Cheer During the Pandemic

(Photo Credit: Evan Fuerst)

There are many student sections in college hockey with superb traditions, and dedicated to their teams. All are suffering a lack of in person viewing of the teams they cheer for due to the Covid-19 Pandemic. However, not all student sections are created equal. Mitch’s Misfits, a student run group that follows the Huskies of Michigan Tech is the most disciplined, organized, and concerted with their efforts to cheer for their Huskies.

To give you a brief example of how dedicated this group is, they follow the Huskies all over the country wherever they can. Last year they traveled to the Ralph Engelstad Arena and watched their team play a close game against the Fighting Hawks. Not only did they attend the Ralph, they were the loudest group of fans from start to finish all night long. Their cheers from the upper deck were heard everywhere in tbe building.

In addition to this, there group not only is an official one on campus, but they work to bring more fans from one of the better, more unheralded engineering schools in the country to the game every single night. They provide a model of what it means to be a fan of the entire game of college hockey, while working to get more people in the stands next to you, not just going to the game. Students travel with this group for multi-day excursions when the Huskies play far away. Not many student groups do that with some institutional support.

With all of this background said, we turn back to the current reality the Misfits face, they cannot show up in their own rink and cheer so loud that folks in North Dakota could hear them on some nights. They have had to adapt to the ever changing rules and regulations of this pandemic, and still have some positive thoughts about their hockey team’s opponent this weekend, the Chargers of Alabama Huntsville.

Evan Fuerst and Shane Cruthers are two leaders of the Misfits, and quotes below are from both of them.

First, on this weekend’s series against a team many thought would not still be active this year, they said

” I think UAH’s effort to save their program is amazing. It shows that hockey communities can come out of anywhere. The outpouring of fans, former players and college hockey fans alike was amazing to see. We think it shows that college hockey can mean more to a community than just a fun thing to watch. ” The featured picture showcasing the Misfits in this article is from one of their trips to the Von Braun Center. Hopefully, at some point soon, they can make another one there.

Back to the Misfits, given that the vast majority of classes at Michigan Tech are online, they have had to do other things to maintain the wonderful community they have built. For instance ” We were attempting to do a social at our house early in the semester full of socially distanced games. That was later cancelled because of increased covid guidelines which prohibited that plan. We have also hosted watch parties online for our fans to interact with one another while still staying safe.”

With that said, the group still has things to watch for on the ice, that would serve as a quick heads up to fans of the Chargers and other WCHA opponents.

As they said, “Carson Bantle has been one of my favorite players to watch in the first few games of the season. He has shown to be a key offensive contributor and is also very physical on the ice. A lot of us think he will blossom into a key contributor all over the ice, and it shows with Arizona’s draft choice of him.”

Finally, while the group hopes to be able to travel at some point in the year, due to ever changing regulations amidst a global pandemic, they know that may not happen this year. With that said they do hope things improve enough to hold ” a group watch party if that is allowed by the school, as we normally do for the teams road games. We would like to set up some pond hockey games with all those from the organization to get out and enjoy the winter season.”

The Misfits, like all of us, are dealing with this pandemic and new regulations as best they can do. Also like us, they hope that soon, Houghton and every other city with a college hockey team in it, can welcome back fans at capacity. Until then, the Misfits are doing what they can to bring together Huskies over Michigan Tech Hockey in the safest way possible.

Donate: To help us cover more games and tell more stories not found elsewhere about all of college sports, especially under represented athletes everywhere across the college sports landscape like unique untold stories across college hockey. Please click the below link and consider donating what you can. If you do, I will list you in every story about we write as a supporter of crowd-funded  journalism that can truly be free for all at this link: Click Here

Your donation will help expand what content we can offer and how many stories we can tell.