Name: Emil Romig
Hometown: Vienna, Austria
ECHL Team: Reading Royals
2016-17 Organization: University of Denver (36 GP, 9G, 6A, 15PTS)
ECHL: What made you decide to sign with the Royals for the 2017-18 Season?
Emil Romig: I think it was pretty easy. After the season I talked to my agent and we decided that I wanted to stay in the United States for a couple more years. So my agent reached out to a couple teams, and out of those teams, the Royals were the first ones to respond. They showed by far the most interest. After talking to a couple people who had some connections to the organization and hearing all the good things about it- about the city, the place, the advancement opportunities- it was an easy decision to make for me.
ECHL: Hockey has taken you all over the map. What do you know about Reading? What are you looking forward to getting to know in another new place?
ER: Like you said, hockey has taken me everywhere. I grew up in Vienna, and I moved to the Czech Republic for three years, and then I was in Indiana and then Texas and now four years in Denver. Overall, it’s just been a journey and Reading is going to be the next stop. I know the history and the background in that area is mostly industrial. I heard it’s not a big city, but in Reading you have other opportunities. From what I heard it’s within a couple of hours of New York, of Philadelphia, you know even Washington is a day trip or so. It will be different opportunities for sure.
ECHL: What should the ECHL fans know about you?
ER: I’m European, I’m highly energetic, I love to play my game with a lot of energy and get my teammates going with my competitiveness. I create most of my chances with my skating and my shot.
ECHL: What are you most looking forward to in this rookie season in the ECHL?
ER: I am most looking forward to getting my career started. It’s a dream come true for any little kid. Growing up that’s what you want to do – you want to make a living playing hockey. So I’m just excited to get started. I’m looking forward to the challenge of going from 30-40 games in a season to 70 games. I think it’s going to be a ton of fun. Everyone I talk to is just telling me to enjoy it to the fullest and just have fun.
ECHL: Is there anyone you would say that you model your game after?
ER: I always grew up being the smallest guy on the ice so I always looked at smaller guys, trying to take anything I could from how those guys played. Growing up I watched the NHL a ton, so my favorite player was Martin St. Louis. I’m not saying I’m anywhere close to that level, but I loved that he played with a ton of energy. Guys like Brad Marchand come to mind as well- he uses his speed, his shot – he just has so much energy that it gets his teammates going. Guys like that, they were smaller but still found a way to make a big impact every game – that was something I always looked up to.
ECHL: How are you spending your summer?
ER: I graduated from the University of Denver in the middle of June and after that, I went home for a month and just hung out with my family. I took a couple trips, took a trip to Spain, took a trip up in the mountains in Austria, it was awesome. And it was great just to be back home and get spoiled by my parents and see my friends from back home that I grew up with. After a month I came back here and started skating again. I usually try to take off some time after the season to get away from the ice and get excited about getting on the ice again. So after I came back, I started skating in the middle of July. I was working out at home but here at Denver, we have our strength coach who I’ve been working with the last four years. So it’s just a great environment to get stronger and prepare yourself for the season. So my plans are just to sit tight and hang out here and skate and workout as much as I can.
ECHL: What is one thing that ECHL fans might be surprised to learn about you?
ER: I love to cook and I love to read books. I have a couple favorite meals to make – a few traditional Austrian foods my parents taught me. I don’t even know how to translate them so I’m not going to try. But yeah I’ve got a repertoire of a few different dishes that I keep using.
ECHL: So do you think that you’ll get to know your new teammates this fall by cooking them some traditional Austrian dishes?
ER: If they don’t run away from it I guess!
ECHL: You said you like to read too, so what’s a book you read recently that you really enjoyed?
ER: It’s called Blackout – it’s actually written by an Austrian author. It’s about cybersecurity in Europe and how easy it actually is to get into those networks and shut things down. It ends up that all of Europe is shut down because someone hacks into their electricity network. They shut it down and chaos breaks out in Europe. It was interesting, it was 800 or 900 pages but I finished it in a week when we were up in the mountains. It was a real page turner – I loved it. When I grew up – we didn’t have a real TV until I was 14 years old. When I was really little we had one but my parents said that they had to have it on at all times or I would cry. At some point, it broke and they just decided, ‘Let’s not get another one’. So I had to spend my time somehow – so I read a lot of books.
ECHL: What has the proudest hockey moment of your amateur career has been?
ER: Definitely winning the National Championship last year. I don’t think anything comes close to that. It was unreal – we worked for that for four years. We came in as freshman – we were a class of around 10-11 – we lost a couple guys along the way but we were a class of about 10 guys that made up our class. We came in and every year we advanced and made it one step further. The first year we made it to the first round of the tournament. The second year we lost in the second round of the tournament. The third round we made it to the Frozen Four, but lost in the semifinals with a minute to go. Then last year, fortunately, we pulled through and came out on top and it was unreal. The group of guys we had was just unbelievable the way that everyone bonded. Everyone had a role that was 100% bought into and it was unbelievable.
ECHL: Have you connected with any of your teammates from the Royals?
ER: Last year there was a guy who played there who is from Austria too, his name is Florian Iberer. Before I signed there I reached out to him and asked him a ton of questions. He was nice enough to take some time and sit down with me and tell me about it. He played a pretty big role in me ultimately signing there. He just told me good things about there. And one of my former teammates, Nolan Zajac, was actually just traded to Reading. He played in Toledo last year. So once he got traded, we chatted about it a bit. There’s a bunch of other guys, including my coach, who played college hockey, so I think there will be some good connections.
ECHL: Any last words you want the Royals and ECHL fans to know about you as you head into your first season?
ER: I’m super excited to get started. I can’t wait to start my professional career. I’m super excited for the chance the Royals gave me – that’s the most important thing.