Garret Ross name had barely been announced as a Chicago Blackhawks draftee when he got a call from his fellow Saginaw Spirit teammate Brandon Saad.
He actually called me no more than five minutes after, said Ross, who the Blackhawks took in the fifth round at the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. He was yelling into the phone. We were pretty excited.
Flash forward to this week, as Ross is teammates with Saad again as he participates in his first Blackhawks prospect camp at Johnnys IceHouse West. For Ross, its a chance to show the Blackhawks what hes got: a well-rounded game with some offense (54 points last season with Saginaw) and some sandpaper.
The 20-year-old Ross said being on a line with Saad for part of last season was a great experience.
The first couple of years it was mainly go out there and hit and try to fight. But this season me and Saad were together half a year. He brings the best out of you and hes great to play with, Ross said. I feel that Im a two-way guy. Ill play some offense and defense, bring some energy, make some hits and stick up for my teammates.
Saad said Ross wont back down from anyone.
He has that grittiness to him, Saad said. You should look forward to watching him this week.
And look forward to seeing Ross at training camp this fall, when hell be reunited with a former fighting foe: Andrew Shaw. Ross and Shaw had their share of bouts you can find at least two of them on the web when Shaw was with the Niagara IceDogs in the OHL.
Yeah, we went a couple of times, Ross said with a grin. I definitely dont mind dropping the gloves.
So there could be some sparring between the two come training camp?
Im sure you guys will see something, Ross said.
Ross plays with an edge and can also bring some offense. Hes reunited with his Saginaw teammate Saad, and Saads experience with the Blackhawks last season motivates Ross. Still, he knows he has to be himself to impress the Blackhawks brass.
Learning is the main thing. I just come out here and play my game, he said. Thats the reason why Im here, so Ill just stick to my game.