Nick Brunker's Blog
Inside the Cyclones - Koba Jass
October 2, 2012 | View Comments
by Chuck Saffell - CyclonesHockey.com Reporter
CINCINNATI, Ohio – Joining a new team can be a difficult transition. It can be made even more challenging when there is a language barrier. Such is the case for Cyclones forward Koba Jass, born in Riga, Latvia, who is playing in the United States for the first time in his career. The process has been surprisingly smooth for Jass due to a great attitude and helpful teammates.
Assistant coach Matt Macdonald also knows what it is like to play overseas as he spent the final three years of his playing career in Italy and Denmark. He has taken note of the positive disposition displayed by Jass.
“He is a good kid. He is a great kid, he has a great attitude. He makes everybody laugh. He is a hard worker, fast, and for the on ice stuff he takes care of it himself. Off the ice he is just a great character.”
He feels that Jass is doing all the right things to make the best of a difficult situation by interacting with everyone around him despite some trouble communicating.
“He has definitely opened up and let everyone see his true colors. He is getting involved with everybody else. It‘s definitely tough to go over anywhere to any different country where there is a language barrier, but he is doing it the right way, getting people on his side and he is not being sheltered.”
The 22 year old Jass has been playing professionally for five years in his home country of Latvia as well as skating for teams in Belarus, and Kazakhstan. He studied English in school as a child, but this is his first opportunity to use the language extensively.
“I live in an apartment with Chris Reed. He is a nice guy. He helps me all the time because my English is not so good. I don’t know some words and I say all the time, Chris, what is it, what is it, what is it.”
On the ice he has been able to fit in seamlessly. While he has had to lean on his teammates for some help getting through the day after the skates come off, the language barrier has not been an issue at all during practice.
“I think I am now in good condition, good physical condition. Hockey is hockey. Hockey language is the same.”
Cyclones fans will get their first opportunity to see the speedy Jass at U.S. Bank Arena on Friday at 7:30pm when the Cyclones host the Wheeling Nailers. Tickets are available for $5 by contacting a Cyclones Ticket Representative today at 513.421.PUCK (7825).