Slap shot: Law student played pro hockey for several years


By Sheila Pursglove
Legal News

Law student Ryan Misiak spent almost three decades playing hockey—for the Muskegon Lumberjacks in high school, in undergrad, and then on the pro circuit. He finds the experience carries over to his legal studies by helping with preparation, attention to detail, accountability, teamwork, and the ability to use constructive criticism/feedback in improvement.

The sport launched Misiak on his educational trajectory, receiving an athletic scholarship for his undergraduate education at Mercyhurst University in Erie, Pa., where he spent four seasons of NCAA Division I hockey. He then spent five years as a pro hockey player in the ECHL with the Utah Grizzlies, Rapid City Rush, and Reading Royals.

“The scholarship was the greatest gift of all,” he says. “I enjoyed traveling all over the United States while playing in college and professionally—and getting paid to play a kid's game was a dream come true.”

He continues his passion for the sport, spending the past five years as an on-ice instructor and business developer for Motor City Hockey LLC in the Oakland County village of Milford.

“I’m thrilled to have such a good friend to work for, Rich Mihelic,” he says. “Also, after retiring from hockey you have a culture shock. That was all I knew for 27 years. Now, I get to share my passion for the game with all of the players we train. If I can inspire just one kid, I’ve done my job.

“Kids should shoot for the stars, and I want to do all I can to help them go after it.”

Initially deciding to follow a family career tradition, Misiak earned his undergrad degree in criminal justice, with a concentration in pre-law.

“My father, uncle, and brother all were police officers,” he says. “I decided to change course and use my undergraduate degree to go from law enforcement and shift my attention to interpreting the law.”

Now in his 2L year at Detroit Mercy Law, Misiak feels  having life experience has been paramount to his success in law school.

Last summer, Misiak enjoyed an externship with Judge Mark Plawecki at the 20th District Court in Dearborn Heights.

“I loved my time there, as well as the people. A huge thank you goes out to them,” he says. “I’ve accepted a summer clerk position at Secrest Wardle, and I inspire to provide the firm with my best work and hopefully establish a long-term fit there.”

Misiak enjoys working from home during the pandemic and avoiding the commute to downtown Detroit for law school. 

“However, I do miss the camaraderie and networking that attending in-person provides,” he says.

In addition to hockey, Misiak’s leisure time pursuits include golf; watching documentaries; reading mysteries, biographies, and autobiographies; and spending time with friends and family. He also loves to travel and, pre-pandemic, visited Thailand and Maldives in the past couple of years.

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