Ronnie Hein takes a pass from his new teammates Miguel Fidler and Josh Healey in only his second regular season game for his new college team, the Ohio State Buckeyes. His team is down by a goal against Air Force as they play in the Icebreaker tournament in Denver Colorado. Hein takes the pass and buries it past Air Force first team all-star netminder Shane Starrett. The crowd erupts, especially his parents and grandparents who are in attendance. Hein pumps his fist in celebration and hugs his linemates as he takes it all in, his first goal in Division one hockey, the first of many more to come.
“That was definitely the best moment of my college career,” Hein stated. “It was definitely a very cool moment.”
Hein has been playing hockey since he was 4 years old. He tried other sports but hockey was and is his first love. Before he came to Ohio State he was committed to Ferris State and played two seasons with the Waterloo Iowa Black Hawks in the USHL where he had 49 points, with 14 goals and 35 assists, in 57 regular season games. His squad reached the USHL Clark Cup conference finals where he had seven points (3g, 4a) in nine playoff games.
Hein grew up in Chelsea, Michigan, a really close, tight-knit community located only 15 minutes from the OSU Buckeyes biggest rivals, the Michigan Wolverines. When asked about becoming a Buckeye coming from Wolverine territory Hein says, “it’s not that bad.”
“I got a few jokes here and there when I first signed with Ohio State but not so much anymore,” Hein said. “I think most everyone is just happy with what I’ve accomplished so far and are very proud of me playing for a Big 10 school, even if it is the Buckeyes.”
Hein had 5 goals and 6 assist in 16 games and was seeing lots of ice time and winning a high percentage of faceoffs his freshman year before a season-ending injury occurred against the Buckeyes arch-rivals in Ann Arbor. In the second period, he tore his hip flexor.
“My freshman year experience has been bittersweet for sure,” says Hein. “The first half of the season was great for me and the team! We were having a very successful season and it was hard to have to sit out the rest of the way. As tough as it was not playing, it was still nice to be around the guys and the rink everyday. Now that I’ve gotten past both surgeries, my only goal is to be back by the start of next season and be better than I was this previous year. I have a lot of rehab and work to do this summer.”
The Buckeyes had a very successful season, making it to the Regional Semi-finals but then fell to Minnesota-Duluth 3-2 in overtime. Minnesota-Duluth is a very tough team, making it to the Frozen Four where they will face off against Harvard on April 6th in search of their second title.
The Buckeyes will be graduating 7 seniors next season but will be bringing back many underclassmen including leading scorer Mason Jobst and of course Hein, who will hopefully be healed in time to show off his speed and great two-way forward skills.
Hein hasn’t picked a college major yet but is leaning towards real estate or sports industry. As a freshman, he still has plenty of time to decide on that. Hein plans to spend his summer back home in Chelsea and do a lot of golfing and just laying around on the lake mostly. Ronnie is the son of Larry and Tracy and has two younger siblings Ryan, and Rachel.