A winning team has to have its outstanding stars.
But it also needs players who may not be as well known as the stars, but who are good players in their own right and who can contribute consistently. These blue collar players don't always grab the headlines, but they work quietly and do the things that lead to wins--but go largely unnoticed.
Harvard men's hockey center Rob Ohno is this kind of blue-collar player.
Heavily recruited out of high school, the Bloomington, Minn. native has always played sports with a work ethic largely instilled by his parents.
"My parents told me to always do the best that I can do," Ohno said. "It was never `be the best' but `do the the best.'''
It was this kind of effort which led to Ohno's great prowess as a high school athlete. He lettered three consecutive years in baseball, soccer and hockey. His high school hockey team qualified for the state tournament each of his three years and won the tournament his junior year--no mean feat in a hockey-crazed state.
"It [the high school tournament] is what all the young boys dream about, growing up," said Ohno. "We were in heaven the next three months [after winning the tournament]".
His high school success lead to heavy recruiting by such hockey powers as Michigan, Minnesota, Providence and Michigan State.
However, a visit out East and the education available in Cambridge sold him on Harvard.
"I enjoyed my recruiting trip immensely," Ohno said. "Not everyone gets a chance to go to Harvard."
Since then, Ohno has been known for the same work ethic he showed in high school.
"He's what we like to call an honest hockey player," said Harvard assistant Coach Ronn Tomassoni. "He does the little things you don't notice."
In fact, Ohno has made his college career out of doing the things that help the team but often go unseen by the fans.
"I'm not a scorer," admits Ohno, who's nonetheless tallied seven goals and 10 assists this year. "We [the three forwards on Ohno's line] are expected to contribute in scoring, but we have to play solid defensive hockey first."
Ohno willingly sacrifices his personal scoring for the sake of the team. He backchecks and forechecks, taking opposing players out of the flow of their offenses. He'll fall to the ice late in a game to block an opponent's slapshot.