Wildcat Night Across the Country unites alumni

Jaymie Depew

Wildcat Night Across the Country will mark its 13th successful year on Saturday, Feb. 16.

According to Marina Dupler, assistant director of alumni relations, Wildcat Night Across the Country started in 2000.

The event was started under the direction of Martha Haynes, who was the director of alumni relations at the time.

“It started as a way to encourage alumni, family and friends to get together across the country to watch an NMU event,” Dupler said.

During the event, the NMU hockey team will play against Michigan State, a game that will be broadcast live across the nation on Fox Sports Detroit. The puck drops at 7:30 p.m.

“We picked our Wildcat Night Across the Country date based on which hockey games will be broadcasted live on TV,” Dupler said. “This year, we started promoting the game back in fall, letting alumni across the country know they could contact us and host a watching party.”

Both Dupler and Robyn Stille, executive director of alumni relations and annual giving, try to make hosting a party as easy as possible for alumni.

Dupler said once a host for the party picks out a venue in their community to air the game, the alumni office tries to help get the word out by sending invitations, posting information on NMU’s social media channels and emailing other alumni.

Wildcat party packs are also available for hosting an alumni party, according to Dupler.

“We want to make sure that each watch party, Wildcats are equipped to show off their pride,” Dupler said.

The party pack is mailed to each host. The packs contain pom poms, green and gold beads, license plate holders, pennants and other items.

The NMU bookstore also contributes by donating NMU T-shirts and sweatshirts that can be given away at the parties for friend, family and other alumni. After the packs are mailed, Dubler said the hard part is done.

“All that’s left is for everyone to have a great time visiting one another and cheering on the ‘Cats!” she said. “We’ve had parties that have become a wonderful tradition over the years, such as the party in the North Pole, Alaska and in Nahma, Mich., for instance.

It’s amazing to see how many NMU alumni are all over this country and the world. NMU is such a special place, and it never really leaves you.”

According to Stille, some of the parties are brand new, beginning this Saturday. A new party in Mandeville, La., plan on playing euchre, a favorite U.P. card game, in addition to watching the hockey game.

Along with the parties across the country, Marquette is hosting its own Wildcat Night Across the Country party this Saturday.

The party will be held at Buffalo Wild Wings on Feb. 16.

“Last year a lot of people showed up for the event,” said Jaylyn Martin, manager of Buffalo Wild Wings.

Martin said they’re expecting a good turnout this year as well.

Dupler said if alumni or other Wildcat fans cannot attend an official party, they can watch the game Fox Sports.