The Ohio State University men’s hockey team announced on Tuesday that they’ve taken Umberger on as a volunteer coach. He’ll be behind the bench for the Buckeyes for home games and practices whether the lockout persists or not. If the NHL season resumes, he’ll continue to coach as long as his schedule allows. He will not be going on the road with the team so he can stay close to his family in Columbus.
“Having an alum of R.J.’s stature around our program will be great,” said Buckeyes head coach Mark Osiecki. “As an All-American in college, he knows what it takes to be successful at the collegiate level and he has carried that on to a successful professional career. For him to be able to share that with our players will really help their development.”
For Umberger, being back at Ohio State will bring back fond memories. The Pittsburgh native attended the university from to 2000 to 2003 and amassed 129 points. In his time with the Buckeyes, he was a three-year letter winner, CCHA Rookie of the year and was a finalist for the Hobey Baker Memorial Award.
“With the NHL lockout in full force, I am looking forward to being more connected to the Ohio State hockey program once again,” Umberger said. “I’m excited to spend time on the ice with the players keeping myself in shape and hopefully offering any advice and help I can to them.”
This won’t be just a way for Umberger to pass the time while he’s off NHL ice. Many coaches are former players, and this volunteer stint will give him a glimpse into what coaching a team entails. It could be an option for Umberger when his playing career is over.
Ohio State’s hockey season begins on Friday at Minnesota-Duluth, and they play their first home game of the season against the University of Alaska on November 9.