• Gustavus senior captain and Anoka grad Ross Ring-Jarvi was named MIAC’s Player of the Year
by Jason Olson
Check another item off Ross Ring-Jarvi’s list of things to do or as he describes it – his bucket list.
The Anoka native and Gustavus Adolphus senior was named the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Association’s Men’s Hockey Player of the Year, one day ahead of the Gusties’ first-round game in the NCAA Division III men’s hockey tournament against Milwaukee School of Engineering in New Ulm (March 7).
Gustavus already won the Ed Saugestad Cup for winning the MIAC’s tournament after a 4-2 win against St. Olaf March 3.
The No. 8-ranked Gusties won the game against Milwaukee 3-1 with Ring-Jarvi having a role in all three goals, scoring the first which pulled the Gusties even (1-1) less than two minutes after Milwaukee scored first at the 6:41 mark of the game played at Don Roberts Ice Rink in St. Peter. He assisted on the two following goals.
It was a fitting way to cap what’s been a stellar career playing inside the Roberts Ice Rink.
Gustavus ended its season with a 4-1 loss in the quarterfinals of the NCAA tournament to St. Norbert College in Green Bay, Wis., March 10, one win away from reaching the Frozen Four in Lake Placid, N.Y.
What he’s brought to the Gustavus program is tough to sum up, given he’s the lone senior and came to the college out of the USHL’s North Iowa Outlaws (Mason City) for two seasons after graduating from Anoka High School in 2005.
Ring-Jarvi was a sophomore on the junior varsity team as Anoka hoisted its first state hockey title in 2003.
“He’s been our leader from day one on and off the ice,” Gustavus coach Brett Pettersen said the day before Ring-Jarvi played a big role in all three Gusties goals in the NCAA tournament opener. “I think he’s here because he wanted to get a great education and he’s got a 3.45 GPA with a physics major so he’s really excelled in school and hockey.”
Ring-Jarvi plans to graduate this spring with a major in physics with a philosophy minor.
He not only captained the Gusties to the 2012 MIAC playoff championship, but book-ended his collegiate career with conference championships and national tournament appearances.
The many accolades Ring-Jarvi achieved over the last four seasons include four All-MIAC honors, he was Gustavus’ selection on the All-MIAC Sportsmanship team and he was named to the All-Rookie team in 2008-09.
He finished second on the scoring list with 29 points in the MIAC this season with 10 goals (12th place) and 19 assists (third place). He also had a league-best two short-handed goals and four game winners and is the career points leader with 129 including 83 assists. Hamline senior Brian Arrigoni ranks second with 124 points in his four-year career.
Ring-Jarvi became the fifth Gustie to be named the MIAC’s top hockey player and is known as the team’s iron man, playing in 114 of a possible 114 games during his career, the fifth most in school history.
Keeping that streak going didn’t come without some pain.
“Freshman year he tore his patella in his knee and we couldn’t get him to take time off during practice,” Pettersen said as Ring-Jarvi postponed surgery until after the season. “He should have had it midway through the year. He wanted nothing to do with that.”
According to Pettersen, his top-line center hadn’t been beaten in a wind sprint at practice in four years either. “He has such drive and competitiveness, plus he logs an awful lot of ice time,” Pettersen said.
Last summer Ring-Jarvi challenged himself in a unique way.
He biked across the United States from Newport, Ore., to Connecticut, with his parents in a support car, covering the lower 48 states in just 28 days, 32 days fewer than that recommended 50-day time frame.
“With no training, I asked him if he trained at all and he biked the five blocks to the grocery store and back,” Pettersen said.
“It was kind of a challenge,” Ring-Jarvi said as his parents biked the same route for their honeymoon. “And it was on my bucket list to do and it fit into my schedule. It worked great!”
Next on his bucket list is a rather large decision: to start a career in professional hockey or begin teaching or attend engineering school.
“I’m trying to finish off what I’ve got at hand,” he said about pushing his hockey career to the professional ranks first.
“I’m going to give hockey a chance and see how that goes but nothing is for sure. When I left juniors, I told my coach I didn’t want to continue to play hockey and get on with my life, but the more I’ve played here I’ve developed a passion for it and its opened up as a passion of mine.”
It’s that revived passion for the puck that’s fueling him now.
“It’s on his bucket list [to play professionally] even though he knows it’s not going to be a 10-year stint, but he wants to do it either overseas or here, he has options,” Pettersen said.
Ring-Jarvi came to the Gusties campus with more than a half-dozen other freshmen, but he was the only one left by his senior season. “It’s a bit lonely being the only senior because I really have no one there to compare things with but [the underclassmen] welcomed me in and it seems weird that I’m the one asking them questions,” he said. “It’s a great group of guys and we enjoy each others company.”
This season the questions revolved around playing in the Frozen Four in Lake Placid, Ring-Jarvi said. “I get a lot of questions about my freshman year when we went to Lake Placid and I just try to be as helpful as I can and I learn a lot from different perspectives,” he said.