One of the candidates for the goalie position at the Olympic games in Germany’s national team, Oliver Jonas, the ECAC Goalie of the Year 2001, taking the time to answer questions from Hockey’s Future. Germany’s HF Editor OJ (Oliver Janz) talked with Goalie OJ (Oliver Jonas) about his first steps, the time in north america, the olympic games 2002 and many many more. To learn to know more about Jonas click here for his profile, to read more about his chances to be named to the Olympic roster click here.
Picture: Oliver Jonas, the number one with the #1 on his Harvard jersey.
HF: Hello Oliver Jonas, how do you feel and what are you doing in Germany right now?
OJ: Thanks, i’m feeling excellent. I prepare myself for the upcoming season.
HF: When did you step onto the ice for the first time and why did you become a goalie? Was it the fascinating goalie equipment or didn’t the other players want to play as the netminder or was it only your wish?
OJ: Within the age of six. I went to games of the Kölner Haie (Cologne Sharks), the team of my uncle, with my family at this time. Some time I told my parents that I would like to play hockey, too. And i started hockey at the Neusser EC after that. I tried to play as the goalie and i like it. Also, the team needed a goalie – both things come together.
HF: Your family enjoy hockey very much. Your sister Isabel played for the german women’s hockey national team, your uncle Helmut de Raaf was one of the best german goalies ever. Was he a model for you?
OJ: He’s definitly a model for me. Not only because of his performance – because of his personality, too.
HF: There are currently many interesting hockeyfamilies in Germany. The Hinterstocker’s with Benjamin and Martin jr. or the family named Goc – with Sascha, Marcel and Nicolai. Is there also a young prospect in your family or your relations as we can read ‘related to Oliver Jonas’ in his profile in the future?
HF: You were born in Neuss, for which teams did you play before you went to Breck?
OJ: I started to play hockey at the Neusser EC and stay there till the age of nine. Than I joined the EV Füssen to play there till the age of fifteen.
HF: Why did you turn Germany your back and went to the Breck School in Golden Valley, Minneapolis?
OJ: I want to continue to develop in hockey and also continue to develop my personality. My uncle helped my to contact the Breck School. And this seems to be an excellent possibility.
HF: It’s not easy to find your way in a foreign country, especially in the young age (15) as you went to America. Did you lived in a host family and were the first days and weeks in the United States hard?
OJ: I lived in a host family from the beginning. My host mother came from Germany, too, and helped my very much with my adaptation. My host family and my friends make the adaptation easier as my expectation was. Everyone was very friendly.
HF: You attented the Breck School for three years and played for their hockeyteam, the Mustangs. How did you make progress and how successful was the time?
OJ: The School reached the final High School Tournament in Minnesota only for one time in the past. In my last two years we did it two times. That’s very important for me, in the past and now, too.
HF: Was it an athletic or scholastic reason who make you able to go to one of the Universities with the most reputation in the world, the Harvard University?
OJ: As well as too. The hockey team had a very good tradition and the excellent education is also known. Two good things came together.
HF: Ten Games in your first year in which you showed your talent more as well, you were named to the ECAC All-Rookie-Team. Your team reached the semifinals. It seems to be simple for you to play on the college level. What’s your personal opinion about the first college hockey months and your first season?
OJ: I was throwed into the cold water. It was a very big change, but expecially physically I wasn’t on the same level as the other player were. But somehow it rather keep on going.
HF: You spent your second and third season as the backup from J.R. Prestifilippo, too. Did this time help your development although?
OJ: Yes, of course. I worked very hard during the training sessions and getting much better. That wasn’t rewarded, so i was very frustrated.
HF: The last season was your breakthrough season: 32 Games, two shotouts, a 2,99 goals-against-average and a saving percentage of .915. You won awards like Crimson’s MVP, ECAC-All-Star-Team and the Ken Dryden Award as the ECAC Goaltender of the Year. Did all this surprise you or was it only the oppurtunity you need to show your good performance the whole season?
OJ: I needed a real chance that was never been given to me, of course. But somehow I had the confidence that the things will change.
HF: Your quick and instinctive reflexes are known as your biggest strength. In your opinion, what would you name as another strength of you?
OJ: Hard to say, iI think my concentration is pretty good.
HF: And what are your weaknesses? On what things you have to work?
OJ: Many little things, but I can’t remember a big weakness now.
HF: Which teammates from the Harvard University you like most?
OJ: Steve Moore and Tim Stay are my best friends. I lived together with Tim in the last years and both were witnesses to my marriage two months ago.
HF: And are you in contact with some other german hockeyplayers who currently play in north america?
OJ: Only with Martin Hyun – we talk sometimes.
HF: Let us talk about your future. I have heard you like Boston very much and would like to stay there. The Goalie of the Year Award maked you interesting for some teams from the highest minor league, the American Hockey League, too. In the near of Boston appear the Providence Bruins, Hartford Wolf Pack and the new franchise Bridgeport. Do you received offers from these or other teams in the days and weeks after your graduation?
OJ: Although i like to live in Boston, but the area of the team come only second. It seem to be that I will play in north america for the next season. But I currently don’t know where.
HF: In which league you would like to play in the next season? Which league would be the best for your developing?
OJ: I will play as high as possible of course. But it’s very important that i can play there, so i hope i find a compromise solution.
HF: What’s your favourite team in the NHL and who is your favourite player/goalie?
OJ: My favourite goalie is Dominik Haœek. His instict is just teriffically, he does the right thing at the right time to save a shot. I’ll try to copy this.
HF: Regarding the last question and your answer: as you must compare yourself and your playing style to a NHL-Goalie, which goalie would you chose?
OJ: I don’t want to compare me to Dominik Haœek, but some people have the opinion that our playing style is similar. It’s hard for me to judge it.
HF: Do you follow the things who happen in the german hockey and who’s your favourite team in Germany?
OJ: I follow the DEL for sure, some young players play there. Some former teammates from the past in Germany. But i don’t have a favourite team.
HF: You played for the german national team for the last time in 1997, in the junior team – the U18 that time. The Olympic Games in Salt Lake City will start in February 2002 and you’re one of the candidates. In your opinion, how high are you chances to be nominated?
OJ: The Olympic Games are a dream. I can’t tell many things about my chances, i had never been spoken with the national coach about this. But i will be very pleased if this should happen.
HF: What are your personal goals in your hockey career?
OJ: The goal from anyone is to play in the NHL, that’s my goal, too. But i would like to play for the national team and will participate at the Olympic Games, too. That sounds very big, i know, but let’s see what will happen.
HF: And what will you do after the hockey career? So, with study physics you maked a big step into the live after hockey.
OJ: I continue to study for sure. I can’t say what will happen after this, but my interests are technics and science.
HF: What are your hobbies?
OJ: Skiing, mountaineering/hiking, reading.
HF. You still work on your own website (www.oliverjonas.com) – what sites do you visit often?
OJ: I enjoy reading news and everything about sport on the internet.
HF: What is your favourite movie and who’s your favourite actor or actress?
OJ: My favourite movie is Shawshank Redemption. And i like several actors.
HF: What kind of music do you like and are you having a favourite musician/band or what’s your favourite song?
OJ: Very different – something from all, except rap and country music.
HF: From which V.I.P would you like to garner an autograph?
OJ: Maybe from Britney Spears or Stephen Hawking.
HF: How would live after your campus time? Own home, apartment, together with other hockey players or in a hotel?
OJ: I will live together with my wife in an apartment. We will see where this should be.
HF: Once again back to hockey, what was your greatest hockey moment ever?
OJ: I can’t really say it. But i’m very glad of reaching the third place in the regualar season and in the play off’s last season.
HF: Who was or were the best player(s) you played with?
OJ: Steve and Dominic Moore, i think. Both can have great NHL careers in the future.
HF: Would you advice young german ambitious players to go the same way you walk and leave Germany to went to North America?
OJ: In general i would say yes. You have to realize that you must start at null. Besides, the hockey run parallel to the school, you can’t neglecting the school.
HF: I’ve heard that it isn’t allowed to play if you are not good enough in the school. Did this happen to you in your whole time in north america?
OJ: That had never been happen to me. But the rule excisted on the Breck School and i think on the most of the other schools, too.
HF: If you receive an award during a big hockey gala, which persons would you thank?
OJ: My family, some teammates and some coaches. But most of all i would thank my wife. She helped me very much to have these success in hockey.