On the ice, Mitch Fossier is known as a creative playmaker. His 27 assists this season place the University of Maine men’s hockey senior in a tie for third place in the country in that category.
The Black Bears captain is equally creative off the ice where he is a singer, songwriter and guitarist.
Fossier has recorded 13 songs based on acoustic guitar that he describes as “folky, indie-based” and has produced an album that he intends to release digitally.
“He is an excellent musician and songwriter. He can play multiple instruments. He can sing, and he’s also an excellent student,” UMaine head coach Red Gendron said. “Whatever he works at, he has a commitment to excellence.”
Music and hockey provide a nice balance to Fossier’s life. He is passionate about both and said the gratification is different.
“Hockey is very much in the moment. The feeling you get scoring a goal is much different than [the feeling you get] releasing a song.
“Hockey is all about winning. Music is a little more about me, which is strange,” he added.
The two pursuits complement each other.
After a long day at the rink, Fossier enjoys going home and picking up his guitar. Other times, after recording for several hours, he likes lacing up his skates.
Fossier can also play the piano and dabbles with other instruments. He also is a fan of the violin and cello. He started getting into music when he was 13, although he had a guitar before that.
“There were a couple of musicians in my neighborhood,” said Fossier, who is from Alpharetta, Georgia. “They showed me how to record.”
The soft-spoken Fossier developed a passion for making music and recording and gradually built a recording studio in his house.
“It’s beautiful the way technology is. You can record in your own room,” he said.
Fossier said he was fortunate to be surrounded by talented musicians as he recorded his album at the Innovative Media Research and Commercialization Center on campus.
He has worked closely with Duane Shimmel, who teaches the Art of Recording Audio for UMaine’s departments of Intermedia, New Media and Music. He is an accomplished trumpet player.
“He is a great instructor,” Fossier said.
He said the existence of a recording studio on campus played a role in his decision to attend UMaine, although hockey was his primary reason.
“I love the Alfond Arena,” said Fossier, who visited the school in 2013 for a game between UMaine and Vermont.
“It was tied 0-0, and when Maine scored with five minutes left to take the lead, the building was so loud,” Fossier said. “It’s a special place.”
Fossier also fondly recalls his relationship with former assistant coach Jay Leach.
“He’s a great man. He showed me how to do the right things the right way, and he treated me well,” he said.
Fossier became interested in hockey through his father, Rick, who played at Yale in 1985 and 1986.
“He loves the sport. He got me into it,” said Fossier, who has been productive on the ice ever since he arrived in Orono.
He has registered 120 career points in 127 games and is 37th on UMaine’s career scoring list. Fossier is one point behind Christian Lalonde and Jack Capuano, and four behind Paul Kariya.
After posting eight goals and eight assists as a freshman, Fossier has led the Black Bears in scoring every year and this season is the top point-getter with seven goals and 27 assists in 27 games.
Fossier is tied for third in Hockey East in scoring and is second in assists.
The 6-foot, 188-pound left winger was a Hockey East third-team selection last season after notching eight goals and a team-leading 28 assists and 36 points.
This is Fossier’s second year serving as a captain. He is a member of UMaine’s Male Athletes Against Violence group.
“He is obviously an exceptional player,” Gendron said. “He has also been an exceptional leader and has been outstanding on campus. He is a very talented kid. We’re pretty lucky [to have him].”
Fossier also provides leadership through his dedication to the game.
“He works his tail off,” sophomore defenseman Simon Butala said. “He’s one of the earliest to get to the rink and one of the last ones off.”
“It’s an honor to follow him onto the ice every game,” junior defenseman Cam Spicer said.
Fossier, a New Media major, hopes to give pro hockey a shot after he concludes his UMaine career and will pursue a music career further down the road.
“I’d love to play [pro hockey], and if I can find a way to make a living off music after my hockey career is over, I’ll do that for sure,” Fossier said.
For now, Fossier wants to help UMaine make a strong stretch run and hopefully secure a home-ice berth for the Hockey East quarterfinals.
The Black Bears took a four-game winning streak into Friday night’s home game against Northeastern. Fossier took a six-game points streak (3 goals, 9 assists) into the contest.
“I’m having fun, the team is having success and my line has been clicking pretty well lately,” Fossier said. “There are a bunch of positives. I love coming to this rink. I know it’s the final stretch, and I won’t be playing here much longer. Alfond is a special place with special people.”