When he was 15 years old, Jack Roslovic led the Ohio Blue Jackets midget hockey program in goals (23), assists (30) and points (53). By the time he was 18, he had won two gold medals and one title in international tournaments. At 19 years old, he became a first-round pick in the NHL Draft.
Now at Miami University — a renowned hockey school with two conference titles and 10 NCAA tournament appearances — Roslovic hopes to continue his own success and contribute to Miami’s.
During the recruiting process — which took almost three years, head coach Enrico Blasi said — Roslovic visited several schools. Similar to other places, MU appealed to the Columbus native for its location, the team members, the schooling and people around campus. But Miami stood out to him for one specific reason: the Brotherhood.
“It’s one thing just to say that you’re a brotherhood. I really felt there was something different with this team,” Roslovic said. “At some schools the freshmen and seniors don’t necessarily get along too well and there’s cliques on the team, but this team is a pretty tight-knit group. Especially the seniors, they’re really supportive of us because they know that we have four more years here and they want to keep their eye on the program and see the program compete, so they help us out. They’re all great guys … those are the type of people we attract.”
As the RedHawks rebuild their offense after losing threats like Austin Czarnik and Riley Barber, Roslovic will have the opportunity to step into the Miami line-up and see significant playing time.
“You know our freshmen play,” Blasi said.
Blasi emphasized that for Miami recruiting, strengthening the team comes first, and Roslovic was recruited to fill a void on that team.
“When we recruit, we never recruit the same type of player, we’re recruiting a team,” Blasi said. “So to say he stands apart from other players is kinda unfair because everybody is different.”
However, the rookie’s star power doesn’t go unnoticed.
“We felt he was a Miami-type player and fit our culture very well,” Blasi said. “Jack brings a tremendous amount of skating ability, he can really fly. He’s got a great shot, a good vision for the ice. So all those things he brings to the table obviously play a big role in his part on the team.”
And Roslovic is ready to play that part.
“We lost some good players, and I think all of our freshmen will help replace the Czarniks and Colemans and Barbers,” Roslovic said. “I’m gonna come in here and play with high tempo — you know that’s kinda how they play — fast-pace, and try to help produce on the offensive side and work well with all these players.”
Roslovic knows he has big shoes to fill and is prepared to satisfy any role the team may need, whether it’s in scoring or in support.
The right-handed center is no stranger when it comes to scoring. Roslovic paced the Under-18 team in the U.S. National Team Development Program with eight power play goals and 79 points (25 goals, 52 assists) in the 2014-15 season. In the World Junior Championship gold medal game, Roslovic scored the game-tying goal in the third period of their eventual 2-1 overtime win. He totaled 11 points (6 goals, 5 assists) in seven games during the tournament.
Before that, he claimed a gold medal with the U.S. team at the U-17 World Hockey Challenge, scoring six points (2 goals, 4 assists) in six games.
On the other hand, Roslovic shows the ability to mesh well with other high-profile players, which is something he’ll have to do at Miami. During his time in the USNTDP, he benefited from playing with two strong linemates, Auston Matthews (55 goals, 61 assists) and Matthew Tkachuk (38 goals, 58 assists).
“I expect a lot from myself,” Roslovic said. “I really want to help these guys and help our team be the best we can whether that’s playing a role that’s getting a lot of points or a lot of goals or if that’s playing with energy and doing the little things it takes to make the team really bond and become successful.”
Blasi expects the same.
“My expectation is that he will continue to work hard every day and conform into our team and what we do as a team and play his role as whatever we decide his role to be on the team,” Blasi said.
The 19-year-old was home for most of the summer with draft, combine and camp commitments. In July, the Winnipeg Jets selected Roslovic 25th overall during the 2015 NHL Draft. The pick made Roslovic the first-ever Columbus native to be taken in the first round.
“I went in there, and that first night I said this is the last time I’m ever going to be able to do something like this,” Roslovic said. “I kinda just sat back, hung out with my family and enjoyed the moment, and when I got the call I got up and the rest was pretty special. It was definitely a fun night.”
Roslovic began his practices with the RedHawks Monday and already feels a connection to the program.
“I already feel a part of the team, I already feel a part of the school,” Roslovic said. “It’s definitely been a welcoming place.”
The 2015-16 hockey season begins October 9 against Providence College.