Jared Boll - Drops Bombs

Rarely in team sports is fighting with the opponent lauded. Professional hockey is one exception, and Columbus Blue Jackets fans have gotten to know right-wing Jared Boll as a scrappy fighter. While his outward appearance on the ice suggests that he likes to give the crowd a show, we found during our exclusive Q&A with the Columbus celeb that his preference is not in the limelight. The 24-year-old is laid back, has a quiet demeanor and is a bit of a homebody – and during a season that has 82 grueling games on the schedule, time at home doesn’t always happen enough.
Though he’s still in his early 20s, he’s had nearly two decades’ experience on the ice. He was practically skating before he was walking and played his first game at the age when most children are hopping on the bus for their first day in kindergarten. After high school, he played for a junior hockey team in Nebraska, two years later turned down an offer to play in the NCAA for the University of Minnesota Duluth, and instead, accepted an offer to play for the Ontario Hockey League with a team in Plymouth, Michigan (we’ll forgive him). After two seasons, the Blue Jackets plucked Boll from the Plymouth Whalers, and he’s now in the midst of his fourth season with the Columbus team. Unsurprisingly, playing hockey is second nature to Boll, and he couldn’t imagine doing anything else. That’s good news for the Blue Jackets because this guy will do just about anything to get them a W.
From the deeply sincere way he talks about winning games for Columbus’ own hockey team, you might think he’s a native of our fair city. He’s not. He grew up in a suburb north of Chicago, but like anyone who spends enough time in Columbus, Boll has grown fond of the city, especially its dining scene, its golf courses and its sports teams. Read on to learn more about this bruiser, his weaknesses, his family and his fighting style.
Q & A » » » » » »

If you were not playing hockey, what would you be doing professionally?
You know what? I wouldn’t even know. Growing up, I loved every kind of sport; I’d probably try to be a professional athlete some way. But for as long as I can remember, I wanted to play in the NHL.

When did you start playing?
I started playing when I was four or five, and I think I was on my first team when I was about six.

The measure of a man is his ability to ...
Keep his word.

When was the last time you felt intimidated by a player?
Going into fights, I don’t really get too intimidated by guys. Most of the guys I fight are definitely a lot bigger than me, but I can’t say I’ve really been intimidated by a player during a game. Maybe looking at the roster before the game a little bit, but once the puck drops it doesn’t really matter who it is.

What do you love most about playing on a team?
I don’t think I could play any individual sport. There’s nothing better than winning as a team. Even if you’re a winning team, you go through some tough times, so winning with the group of guys that you go through the good and the bad with is probably the best feeling.

What is something Columbus needs more than they will admit?
I don’t know. We’ve got a lot of good restaurants. The golf’s great, so they don’t need any more golf courses. I think Columbus is a great city how it is. I think they need the Buckeyes more than they’ll admit. I don’t know what Columbus would do without Buckeye football.
What do you truly hate?
Failure. Once I strive for something, I hate not being able to accomplish it. If I tell myself I’m going to do something, I try my best to get it finished, no matter what.

Pantera, TuPac or Kings of Leon?
I like all kinds of music. I’m not a huge rap fan. Pantera – I can’t say I listen to them much. So, I’m going to have to go with Kings of Leon. I love country music. I listen to a ton of country music, so if I had to pick any kind of music, it would be country.

Last concert you saw was who, when and where?
I saw a couple this summer. The last concert I went to, I got to meet George Strait, and I got to meet him before the concert. My roommate and I got a pretty cool picture with him.

Who’s your roommate?
Kris Russell.

What’s the craziest Kris Russell-Jared Boll story?
You know what, we’re pretty boring. We’ve lived together – this is our fourth year. We both made the team as rookies, and we still live together. But we’re pretty quiet guys. Russ is more low-key than me; he spends more time in his room than anywhere else. I don’t see him much, but he’s an easy guy to live with.

Liars or cheaters – which is worse, and why?
I think they’re equally as bad. If you’re labeled a liar or a cheater, that’s pretty tough to shake, so you’ve got to stay away from both.

You’re being held in a Mexican jail for mistaken identity. Who gets the first call?
My dad. He’s always the one I tell everything to first. He would be the one to get me out of it, that’s for sure.

What are you afraid of?

What’s the finest compliment you’ve been given?
You know what I love doing? We do a lot of work with the hospitals, pediatric cancer. And when we do stuff with those kids, and you hear people say, “You made those kids’ days,” that’s pretty cool to hear.

If you could recruit athletes from other sports to play hockey, where would you look first?
Hockey’s a tough one because you have to learn to skate before you can even play. It’s not like you can go pick a fast runner or something like that. I’d say a UFC player because even if they’re not scoring goals, I’m sure if you’ve got one of those guys on your team, it’s pretty intimidating.

Describe your fighting style in three words.
Fearless, scrappy and entertaining.

One treat in Columbus you can’t say no to?
Honestly, when I’m on the road, I can’t wait to get back to my house (laughs).

Young Blood or Slap Shot?
I have to go with Slap Shot, that’s hilarious.

What is your fondest Plymouth, Michigan memory?
I met my best buddy in Plymouth. James Neal, he plays for Dallas. We play them four times a year. I know a lot of good guys, but we’re still best buddies to this day, and we always will be.

Do you have a girlfriend?

When you retire how do you want to be remembered on and off the ice?
A good teammate. I’d rather have everyone I play with say, “That guy always had your back. He was the best guy to play with,” than to be known for skill. If they’re still talking about you after you’re done playing, about how good a guy you were, how good a teammate, that’s probably the best compliment.

As a CBJ bruiser, do you feel as though you almost have to fight to satisfy your fans?
I feel like I did earlier in my career, just fighting for some of the entertainment part, but now I think the most satisfying part is just winning. So, if fighting is going to help us win, then that’s what I’m going to do, but as long as we’re winning, that’s satisfying.

Ever had any fight training?
Yeah, I’ve done quite a bit of boxing in the summer. Probably the past five or six years I’ve been doing it. It’s not the main thing I work on, but it’s definitely in there. Obviously, it’s a great workout, just punching and skill.

How exhausting is a season of hockey?
82 games is a long time, and our travel schedule is pretty tough playing in The Western Conference. It’s a grind. Obviously, I think it’s the funnest thing to do, but sometimes you’re sore and tired and it’s hard to even wake up.

Who checks the hardest in the NHL?
Niklas Kronwall from Detroit.
Ever had the snot literally knocked out of you?
Yeah, oh yeah, a bunch. I’ve been hit hard, real hard. I got hit one time in the jaw, and I literally had to eat soup for a good week. I think I lost 10 pounds just because I couldn’t eat anything. I was a junior, I think I was 17. I’ve been hit hard, too, but I don’t think I’ve ever been hit that hard.

At the end of the day, hockey is ...
My life.
Are the toughest guys the ones who are fighting?
For the majority, the toughest guys are the ones fighting. There are definitely some tough guys out there that are skilled and play more of a role in fights so they don’t fight as much. But to do that game in and game out, fighting the other team’s tough guy each night, it’s pretty hard.

Explain to our readers the mental fatigue your sport often causes?
When you play 82 games, if you’re winning, you’re on a high, and when you’re losing, you can’t get too low. You’re going to go through times where you can’t wait to get to the rink and you’re having the best time, and you’re going to go through times when it’s tough and you’re losing, and it’s hard to wake up. So, I think the biggest thing is keeping it at an even level.

What was the biggest mistake you ever made?
It’s not a mistake, but I wish I would have gotten more of an education just in case something happens after hockey.

What talent would you most like to have?
My brothers play the guitar. I wish I could play too.

How many brothers do you have?
Two. My older brother Matt is 26 and my younger brother Jake is 21. They were never into sports.

You’re walking down death row. What was your last meal?
McDonalds. When I get a chance to eat fast food, I eat it.

Can you cook anything? If so, what’s your best dish?
I eat out every single night. I can’t cook anything. I gotta learn, though.

Do you have any pets? I did growing up.
I had a Golden Retriever named Norman. I really wish I could get a Golden Retriever, but we’re just not home enough, and there’s no one to take care of it.

What animal would you be?
Probably a lion. King of the jungle.

What movie could you watch daily?
Even though it’s a different sport, one of my favorite movies is Rudy. I think I could watch that almost every day.

What is the most exciting two minutes in sports?
I went to the Kentucky Derby last year, and when you see that final stretch of the horses racing, that’s pretty cool.

What was the first poster on your wall?
I don’t know if it was my first one, but I was a huge Red Wings fan growing up because my dad is from Detroit. So, a Steve Yzerman poster was up there early.

Greatness is ...

Favorite family tradition?
My whole life my entire family would go to my grandma’s on Christmas Eve, so that was definitely the most fun. I’d like to continue that.

Root beer or cream soda?
Neither. I like Coke and Pepsi.

Bud or Bud Light?
Bud Light.

What’s your weakness?
My temper. Is that a weakness? I think I need to work on my temper a little bit.

Any teams you hate playing?
There’s not one team that I like playing. I think every team we play we’re trying to beat.

What is something that fans don’t know about you?
When fans see me on the ice, they probably think that’s the way I am, but off the ice, I’m actually pretty quiet. If I don’t know you, or if you’re not close to me, then I’m pretty quiet and real laid-back.

Did you ever consider playing a different sport?
No, hockey the whole time. I like golf, but I am not good or anything. I play in the summer, but I don’t get any better.
What do you shoot?
High 80s to low 90s, somewhere in there.

Who was your childhood hero?
There’s no way I’d be where I am without my dad. My dad definitely made the most sacrifices with driving, and financially and all that stuff. At times, it got pretty hard, but he was always there.

What’s more important: speed, power or vision, and why?
I like speed. I think if you are faster than someone, you’re always pretty tough to handle.

Do you train with teammates or do you have personal trainer?
I spend my summers in Columbus, so I stay here with our strength coach and a couple guys from our team. I train with whoever is in town.

What is the best advice you can give a 10-year-old, a 16-year-old, and a 21-year-old hockey player?
Make sure you’re having fun. I’d say the same thing to the 10-year-old and 16-year-old. The 21-year-old: Never give up. If you made it that far and you want to do it, and people are telling you that you can’t, you don’t give up.

Do you play video games using yourself?
I have before. I don’t really play a ton of hockey video games, though.

Where did you grow up?
North Chicago. Crystal Lake, Illinois.

What’s your fondest Chicago memory?
I was a huge Bulls fan. The Bulls winning all of those championships was pretty cool.

Do your good looks give rival players more inspiration to fight you?
[Laughs] I don’t know if my looks so much as it is the way I act on the ice. That’s probably why they want to beat me up.

How do you spend your off season?
I golf a lot. Workout. Train. Weekends, I don’t mind going away for the weekend. I go home and visit my family sometimes or go and visit some buddies.

What is the craziest thing you’ve ever done?
Fight Derek Boogaard.

Did you ever go through any hazing? Who heckled you the most?
I wouldn’t say hazing. I think that gets blown up a little bit. But yeah, I definitely went through some rookie stuff. It’s fun. I think everyone should go through it.

The Greatest athlete of all time is ...
Michael Jordan.

Blondes or Brunettes?

A leader always ...
A leader always takes responsibility. He never blames it on someone else.

The worst thing you can do in hockey is ...
Take a shift off.

Who is the rival team of the Blue Jackets?
Our whole division is really good this year. I’d say Detroit.

Why do you think Americans don’t appreciate hockey and soccer the way Europeans do despite the fact that it is has constant action?
I don’t think it’s that they don’t appreciate it, especially after what we did in the Olympics and going into overtime with Canada. I think it’s opened their eyes, and it’s only a matter of time before it gets bigger.

Do you miss the fact that there is no fourth quarter in hockey?

Do you know the origin of a hat trick?
I can’t say I do. I just know if you get three goals, they throw hats on the ice.

Pre-game or post-game rituals?
Pre-game, I always play soccer with the same guys. We kick around the soccer ball before the game at the rink. Post-game, just stretching.