USA Hockey Magazine

January 2013

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 27 of 47

Back l o Schoo T By Craig Merz R.J. Umberger Returns To Help Out His Alma Mater During NHL Lockout T hroughout his hockey career, R.J. Umberger has been called many things. On the road, the hulking winger with a penchant for playing a rough and tumble brand of hockey has been showered with catcalls and taunts from opposing fans. In his adopted hometown of Columbus, the Blue Jackets alternate captain is often referred to in much more favorable terms. And most recently, the 30-year-old father of two added the title of college graduate to his resume after earning his bachelor���s degree in marketing from The Ohio State University. But nothing could have taken him aback like being called ���old man��� by the members of the current OSU team. ���It hits me kind of hard,��� Umberger admitted. Of course, it���s all in jest as Umberger gets the utmost respect from the players 26 January. 2013 and coaches in his role as a volunteer coach for the Buckeyes during the NHL lockout. While some NHL players opted to go overseas, Umberger chose to stay close to home while skating at the same campus facilities where he played college hockey. ���It���s definitely inspiring watching him go through what we���re going through,��� junior defenseman Curtis Gedig said. ���It���s cool to have him out there talking to the guys and seeing his input on everything. It���s a different perspective playing college hockey and the NHL.��� Third-year coach Mark Osiecki approached Umberger about helping out once it became clear the NHL season would not start in early October because of a labor dispute. Umberger quickly accepted the chance to advise a team that routinely dresses a dozen freshmen or sophomores. ���He���s a living, walking model of what it���s like to be a high-end athlete here, to be an All-American,��� Osiecki said. ���Our USAHOCKEYMAGAZINE.COM players can see how he carries himself, how he prepares for practice, how he recovers after practice. He can talk about all those things.��� Umberger not only skates with the team, he is not afraid to give input where needed. ���First and foremost I want to be involved on the ice with them,��� he said. ���They can watch the things I do out there ��� the way I work out there, how I do drills and how I compete. If I see something on the power play or anything else, I���ll pull a guy aside and talk to him.��� Umberger has everyone���s attention because of his pedigree. ���He knows what you have to do to be successful on and off the ice in college,��� sophomore forward Nick Oddo said. A Pittsburgh native who now lives year round in Columbus, Umberger came to the budding Buckeyes program from the National Team Development Program, and continued his relationship with USA Photos By Jeff Mills

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of USA Hockey Magazine - January 2013