The Winnipeg Jets have four teammates who call themselves roommates this season: Zach Bogosian and Jacob Trouba share one household, while James Wright houses rookie, Mark Scheifele. But the two rookies almost ended up living under one roof with Bogosian.
“We (Trouba and Bogosian) went to the Taylor Swift concert together this summer and I stayed with him then. Me and Mark were going to live there, right?” asks Trouba, looking over at Bogosian.
“We were talking about it…” he begins, but Trouba interrupts to resume the story-telling. “It wasn’t for sure, but we were talking about it. And then he’s like ‘no, I don’t want both of you to live there’ because he didn’t want two idiots in his house, he can only handle one,” he explains, matter-of-factly.
Bogosian laughs, agreeing. “Yeah, I only needed one in my life.”
“So he was kind of hesitant. I had to talk him into it,” grins 20-year-old Trouba. Bogosian shakes his head before giving the real story. “We talked about it, I wanted it to happen, but then I thought ‘is this really the right thing?’… I didn’t want to live in a house with three boys under the same roof. It just wasn’t something I was pumped up about. Everything happened so fast, I had just moved into a new house and he moved in a week later.”
In the meantime, Scheifele took up Wright on his offer to room together and settled in for the season. “I had mentioned it to him at the start of the year that if he wanted to live together he could, and when they told both of us to get a place, it just kind of came together,” explains Wright, the older of the two. “Like a match made in heaven,” grins Scheifele, elbowing his roommate, who rolls his eyes and laughs “Not really…”
The pair acts like a married couple, bickering and teasing like only good friends can. “I think the best part about it is that we both have our specialties,” begins Wright, a serious expression on his face. “Like I can cook, clean and look after the place and Scheifs… he can sleep in and relax and just enjoy himself. So in that way, we’re a really good couple.” Scheifele barely cracks a smile but nods. “Yeah we are. I’m the man of the relationship,” he adds, and the two burst into laughter.
“If anyone’s cleaning, I have to tell Scheifs to do it,” says Wright, feigning exasperation. Scheifele is quick to defend himself. “I’m good when I get told to do something. I do a good job at it.” But Wright isn’t having any of it. “Otherwise it doesn’t get done,” he says, turning away from Scheifele. “Otherwise those dishes are staying in the sink.”
Since living together, Wright and Scheifele have learned a few things about each other. “He really likes root beer and he’s terrible at video games. Awful,” says Wright of 20-year-old Scheifele. “No! I’m getting better!” argues the rookie with indignation. Wright shoots him a look and with raised eyebrows, smirks. “You’re really bad. Pretty bad.” Scheifele shakes his head in disapproval. “Man, I’m getting better though.”
As if to win back Wright’s favour, Scheifele praises his roommate in return. “James is a caring and loving guy. He cares about you but he’s always on you about things. He likes to have a really nice place but he’s always on you about it.” Wright laughs. “I’m trying to make him a better person. I let him go without making his bed sometimes because I don’t either. He’s a good kid… as long as you just stay after him.”
To teammates who only see the two forwards at the rink, the roommate arrangement may seem like an odd fit. They know exactly how to get under each other’s skin, but it’s all in good fun. They finish each other’s sentences and seem to know exactly what the other will say.
“Everyone at the rink thinks we never get along but…” starts Wright, who is quickly interrupted by Scheifele. “It’s just at the rink because we tear into each other just for fun. And then right when we get in the car…” Wright finishes the thought with a smile, “It’s done. Then we’re friends again.”
Unlike the two forwards, defencemen Bogosian and Trouba never fight. It’s rare to see the two talking without the conversation ending in a fit of laughter. “The best is that me and him never argue. We’ve never gotten in an argument about anything ever,” says Bogosian. But the relationship isn’t as perfect as it may appear.
“The worst thing about living together…” ponders Bogosian, looking over at Trouba. “Neither of us can really cook too well. We’re struggling for dinner now that the other roommate’s gone,” answers Trouba, referring to Bogosian’s girlfriend, who plays soccer professionally. “Bianca is gone now. She used to cook for us every night but now she’s getting ready for her season so she’s not here anymore. So we have no one to cook for us,” explains Bogosian. “We sit around from about 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. googling places to go eat. And then around 7:30 we make our way over to a restaurant and don’t end up eating until about 9 p.m. or so.”
“We’re bad at making decisions,” agrees Trouba. “Not bad decisions, we just can’t make decisions,” clarifies Bogosian with a laugh. “When Bianca’s here, she picks. We’re two very laid-back personalities under one roof, we don’t make a lot of decisions.”
“It’s honestly a real struggle right now for me and him to be completely honest. We don’t have a good routine right now.” His roommate shrugs, adding. “We’re trying to figure that out. We have about 20 pounds of frozen meat in the freezer that we just never take out.” Bogosian laughs. “And I have about 40 pounds of clothes on my bedroom floor too that haven’t got washed.”
Even choosing a movie to watch can be an ordeal for the two indecisive roommates. “We watched Frozen last night,” offers Trouba, referring to the cartoon kids’ movie. Bogosian nods emphatically. “It was amazing. A little musical.”
“And we’ve been really into documentaries lately,” adds Trouba. “Yeah, we’re going to save a whale. If anyone has a whale sling that can hold a 14,000 lb. whale, let me know,” he adds seriously. Trouba nods and laughs. “We’re environmentalists now.”
Saving whales makes for some serious summer plans, but during the season, the two spend their time making each other laugh. “I’m very, very, very goofy at home. I really let my guard down at home. Which people probably don’t know because they see me play hockey and I’m usually angry…” Bogosian trails off. Trouba jumps in. “He’s not serious at all. On the ice he’s a little more scary. If you touch him he’ll snap. Off the ice you can mess around with him and he’ll be fine. Sometimes it gets scary when he wrestles,” he laughs. “One thing I learned is he likes to wrestle. Like I’ll come upstairs in the morning and he’s already had two coffees and I walk upstairs half asleep and he’ll be waiting and be like ‘want to wrestle?’”
Bogosian, bent over laughing, attempts to defend himself. “It’s because I hate losing! I’m a world champion ram fighter,” he adds seriously. “We have ram fights, it’s what we do. We have to explain to people. Ok so you get down…” he begins to explain but Trouba jumps in. “On all fours, with your heads touching each other. This is not good for neck injuries,” he adds, laughing. “And then you just say ‘1, 2, 3, go’ and you push.”
Without warning, the two are down on all fours demonstrating ‘Ram Fights’ in the middle of the locker room. Bogosian positions himself but keeps explaining. “Usually Bianca’s the referee and she’ll say ‘1, 2, 3, go’ and then I win. My grandfather used to always ram fight me growing up.”
The two struggle for a few seconds and Trouba collapses on his back in a fit of giggles. “That’s why he’s so messed up. He’s got a bone sticking out of his head, so it gives him an advantage.”
Bogosian gets up and explains. “That’s one hobby we do at home. We ram fight. And we take a lot of naps. I think a lot of people probably think that because we’re two professional athletes we’re serious and all we do is think about hockey, hockey, hockey.”
“But when we go home, we don’t think about hockey,” says Trouba, rejoining Bogosian on the bench.
To distract themselves, they tell each other jokes and stories, and Trouba sings for his roommate. “Jacob got me Apple TV for Christmas. And he now puts High School Musical on my loud speakers, turns it up to max and sings to it. And Scheifs comes over and they have duets together. And I watch,” says Bogosian, rolling his eyes with a smile.
There’s never a dull moment in the Bogosian-Trouba household. Though the two live under the same roof, Trouba has the basement while Bogosian has the second floor. When it comes to leaving for the rink, they have a meeting spot – “We meet in the lobby,” says Trouba. “That’s what we call the kitchen. Our rooms are really far apart from each other so we’ll text each other and say ‘want to meet in the lobby?’ Just like the hotels I guess.”
While Scheifele and Wright see enough of each other at home that they go separate ways on the road, Bogosian and Trouba are inseparable, even prompting some teammates to claim the two have merged personalities. After moving away from home, the team’s two youngest players have found not only teammates and friends in their first season in Winnipeg, but big brothers as well.