Grizzlies rookie Misiak loving atmosphere on, off the ice
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Save for one season in the United States Hockey League, Ryan Misiak has spent his entire career in the Midwest or Eastern United States.
That all changed in 2015-16 as Misiak signed with the ECHL’s Utah Grizzlies and after being in West Valley City since the start of the season, it’s a decision Misiak is elated he made.
“To be honest, I didn’t realize how far away from home I am,” said Misiak, a 24-year-old forward and native of the Detroit suburb of Shelby Township. “It’s just awesome here – you wake up every morning to the mountains and you get to play a high level of hockey for a great organization. I couldn’t ask for a better situation.”
After four seasons of NCAA Division I hockey for Mercyhurst University (Atlantic Hockey) in Erie, Pa., Misiak graduated last spring and joined the ECHL’s Reading Royals for a four-game stint. He then signed with the Cincinnati Cyclones over the summer, but was released prior to the season starting due to a roster crunch.
“I had actually been talking to (Grizzlies coach-GM) Tim Branham over the summer and things came together after I was released by Cincy,” explained Misiak. “I wasn’t really sure how hockey was taken out here because all I had ever known was hockey in Michigan, Minnesota and on the East Coast, places like that, but we have some loud and very passionate fans that fill the rink each night (at the Maverik Center) and it’s just great.”
Joining Misiak on the Utah roster this season are fellow Michigan natives Matt Berry, Alexander Krushelnyski and Camden Wojtala, all former teammates or opponents of Misiak during his youth hockey days back home.
“You know, when all is said and done, it’s a funny hockey world and it’s so small,” Misiak said. “It’s good to be out here and have some familiar faces from your own backyard, but everyone on this team gets along so well. It’s just a great group of guys who are all pulling in the same direction.”
— Matt Mackinder