Jared Ross (’05) has finished his first season in the Deutsche Eishockey Liga (DEL). His ERC Ingolstadt team finished second in the DEL table and was powered by the scoring of their “Big Three”: German national and DEL veteran RW Thomas Greilinger (22-32=54, +9), Ontario native and RIT alumnus C Derek Hahn (21-32=53, +26), and Ross (23-29=52, +4). The troika were second, third, and fourth in DEL scoring for 2011-12. We got in touch with Jared after Ingolstadt’s first round win against DEG Metro Stars to find out what his thoughts were about playing abroad, our situation here in Huntsville, and the joys of the language barrier.
How would you compare the DEL to your last league, the AHL? Is the pace different? Hitting?
The pace is very similar. The difference is that because the ice is larger; you have a little more time to make plays. In the US it is more of a dump-and-chase style game, whereas in Europe players will refrain from dumping the puck in because they have more room to make plays. Because of this, there are not as many big hits, though physical play is stressed here.
How has your role changed with the new team than what roles you played in the States?
My role is very similar. I have always been a player that plays against other teams’ top lines where the coaches expect me to shut them down—as well as getting offensive production. So I believe that hasn’t changed. However, I do think I have a little more freedom here when trying to make plays.
What have been the big adjustments for you to make other than the language barrier?
It was pretty easy to adjust. The language was a big problem, but I would have to say another adjustment would be the environment at the games. Like European soccer, the games are very loud. The fans never stop their chants, especially on the road. It’s harder playing on the road here then in the States. Other adjustments that were difficult would be food choices and watching out for bicyclists and pedestrians when driving. They are everywhere, and it seems like they are trying to get you to hit them.
How much time off-ice have you had to put into learning the language in order to fit in?
Our management has offered the players German classes once a week. I don’t think this was enough to learn the language, but it has definitely helped. I probably should have done a little on my own trying to learn German, but to be honest I have not.
What kind of team was Metro Stars? Y’all beat them 4-1 with a blowout win in there, so was there a definite skill advantage on ERC Ingolstadt’s part?
They were a very fast team with two solid lines. The series was actually much closer then it sounds: one OT game, a game we won in the last two minutes, and another in which we had to come back from 2-0 in the second and third period. I was relieved when it was over, because it could have gone seven games.
Ingolstadt lost their first game in the second round of the playoffs, falling 4-1 to Adler Mannheim. Jared was even in the game.
And one more thing: we mentioned Ingolstadt’s “Big Three”. Want to see them talking hockey? Of course you do.