In her own words (with help from Mom), Husky Hockey super fan Jade shares the scoop on her rink routines, cool fan cutout and bestie Blizzard.
“Blizzard lives at the hockey rink at Daddy’s work. Hims sleeps there,” said Jade, whose dad Dallas Steward is an assistant coach for the Michigan Technological University Huskies hockey team. Since 2017, at the ripe old age of 18 months, Jade has donned MTU’s signature black-and-gold “over-hauls” to cheer on the team and spend quality time with her buddies, including mascot Blizzard T. Husky, the Huskies Pep Band and Mitch’s Misfits.
Picture Your Husky Spirit
Virtual fans can place a cutout in the stands for volleyball and basketball as well as hockey. Cost is $45 and you get to take home a cool memento when the season is done (pick up or pay a shipping fee to have it sent to you).
Check out MTU sports fan cutout tips and guidelines and order by Jan. 29.
This season, which would have been the youngster’s fourth cadging popcorn and candy (no one can say no to her, says mom Janet Steward) and socializing with her wide circle of arena pals is far from usual because of health and safety protocols related to the pandemic.
“I always go to all the hockey games, because I love Blizzard, but I can't go this year, so Mama took a picture of me to put by my friends in the chairs at Daddy's games,” Jade said. “My daddy is a coach. He's on the bench with the hockey boys. He teaches them how to skate. And I love Blizzard, him's my friend.”
“We were not able to see the cutout first, but the link gave us some great advice and instructions on how to pose and take the best picture for the format,” said Janet. “It was very easy and straightforward.”
The Stewards, who met in 2012 in Janet’s hometown, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, moved here in 2017 from Chicago, where Dallas was an associate head coach for the U.S. Hockey League’s Chicago Steel. Jade’s honorary mascot role came naturally. “After we attended our first home game and saw the pep band all dressed up in their band stripes I knew I had to get a pair for Jade to wear to the games,” Janet said. “The band lovingly calls her ‘Baby Stripes.’ She waits after the games in the hallway to give them high-fives as they leave the stands.”
The Steward family is loving life in the Keweenaw. “People are so friendly up here and there are so many cool, unique, outdoorsy things to do. I feel like we have been officially adopted as part of the MTU family,” Janet said.
Jade’s favorite parts of the game are cheering with the Misfits, running around the rink and tracking down Blizzard for more hugs. Janet has favorite moments, too. “When they play the Lion King soundtrack and hold the kids up like baby Simba, it's so cool to see all the excited kids on the big screen! My personal favorite is the chant after we score a goal. But Jade loves and knows them all,” Janet said. “One evening after a hockey game — Jade was around 2 years old — I had to run into the grocery store and grab a few things and she was singing ‘IN HEAVEN THERE IS NO BEER, NO BEER!’ at the top of her lungs. It made a bunch of people laugh, and I had to explain to them that it was a chant they do at the hockey games.”
Jade is also partial to the giant Michigan Tech flags the Misfits wave, hitting the cowbell and getting her face painted “like Blizzard’s whiskers.” “I sit with Haley, Lexi, Jenny and Michael at the games,” Jade said. “My friend Matt used to be there, but him’s back home because he got a job.” (Jade’s talking about former Misfits president and forever Husky Hockey fan Matt Cavender ’18). “Sometimes I get to go with Manda and Karissa and wave at Daddy on the bench,” she continued, naming two Misfits who sit behind the team. “And I love Blizzard so much!”
Janet appreciates the sense of community that prevails at the games. “The students are so special here. They go out of their way to take care of Jade and are always willing to watch her or hang out with her for a while so I can rest from chasing her around the rink,” she said. “I feel like hockey, especially here at Tech, is one big giant family. We love it here, and love being able to make these special memories.”
Jade’s Pro Tips for Your First MTU Hockey Game
When Huskies can gather together again, Jade’s game-day tips will surely come in handy:
- Get to the game early. “Sometimes we are late and have to walk a long way in the snow, and that is cold.”
- “Find Blizzard and take your picture with hims. Hims is nice, and is a friend for everyone. He's not scary.”
- “Bring your bell (cowbell) to ring and your shakers.” (Jade prefers the black and gold pompoms from University Images.)
- “Yell loud so the boys (hockey players) can hear you. Clap when they score a goal and tell the guys ‘good job!’”
- “Find Haley (Michigan Tech Public Safety police Sergeant Haley Bianucci). She gives you stickers.”
The skate-with-the-Huskies offered for kids after some of the home games are always a highlight. Jade likes skating, period. “I’m faster than you, Mom,” she said (Janet agrees). Besides hockey, Jade’s favorite things include gymnastics, dancing, sledding, the Frozen movies and her Barbies. “I like to ride my scooter, too,” she added.
"I want to be a hockey player, a doctor and a dancer when I grow up. I'm only a little big now, but someday I'll be big."
“We have been watching the games online at home, and it will be fun to see if Jade can see herself in the stands,” said Janet. “I also think it’s a cool thing for my husband, the coaching staff and the players to see — that even though we can't be there in person, we are cheering the team on in spirit. 2020 was such a hard year. This is a super fun memory that we can keep forever. I'm planning on hanging it in her room after the season is over.”
Michigan Technological University is a public research university founded in 1885 in Houghton, Michigan, and is home to more than 7,000 students from 55 countries around the world. Consistently ranked among the best universities in the country for return on investment, the University offers more than 125 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in science and technology, engineering, computing, forestry, business and economics, health professions, humanities, mathematics, social sciences, and the arts. The rural campus is situated just miles from Lake Superior in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, offering year-round opportunities for outdoor adventure.