Columbus Native Trent Vogelhuber Knows Importance of Growing the Game in OhioDec 11, 2019
When Trent Vogelhuber was drafted in the National Hockey League’s 2007 Entry Draft, he became the first hockey player from Columbus to ever be selected and, fittingly enough, it was by his hometown team the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Growing up in central Ohio, Vogelhuber had a unique experience on his road to professional hockey playing in a relatively small market in comparison to other midwestern hockey hotbeds like Detroit or Pittsburgh.
“Hockey was relatively new when I was growing up and there were not many, if any, professional or college players from Central Ohio to look up to,” said Vogelhuber. “Our team got to be competitive as the years came along, but it was a little tough there at first playing those [bigger hockey town] teams.”
Not only was the retired forward the first Columbus native to be drafted in the NHL, but Vogelhuber also attended Miami University of Ohio and became the first Columbus hockey player to play for a Division I college.
With all these titles alongside his name, along with his helping to bring the AHL’s Calder Cup to Northeast Ohio as a member of the 2015-16 Lake Erie Monsters, Vogelhuber recognizes the importance of growing the game of hockey throughout the state.
“It’s important for kids in Cleveland and Columbus to have [these opportunities] that let them know if they want to play hockey and be competitive that they don’t have to leave,” said Vogelhuber. “They can play with the best competition in the country and world right at home, so that’s huge.”
Now in his second season as an assistant coach with the Cleveland Monsters, Vogelhuber gets aid in that pursuit with programs like Learn to Play and Tour with the Monsters presented by University Hospitals Sports Medicine along with Try Hockey for Free presented by Dippin Dots through the team’s Grow the Game initiatives.
“The Monsters have recognized the need to support youth hockey and help teach more kids about the game of hockey across Northeast Ohio,” said Monsters Director of Marketing and Communications Ben Adams. “We continually pursue our mission to help grow the game in the area whether it may be through assisting youth hockey teams, introducing kids to the basics of skating or our summer street hockey programs.”
The Monsters have donated equipment, including helmets and jerseys, to organization’s local Learn to Play partners and spend significant time in the community through their Tour with the Monsters which consists of one-hour practices and an open skate and autograph session with the team at various regional community rinks throughout the season.
In alignment with their mission, the team will host their annual Grow the Game Night on December 14 against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins with a special Try Hockey for Free clinic prior to the game. The clinic allows kids between four and eight years of age to receive a fun introduction to the sport with a 30-minute lesson about the necessary equipment followed by an hour of on-ice instruction.
Additionally, the first 2,000 kids that arrive the game, ages 12 and under, will receive a special trading card set featuring Monsters players that includes photos from players’ youth hockey careers, demonstrating that even professional athletes had to start somewhere.
“[These programs] are great for getting new kids to play knowing that everything is right there at their disposal if they want to play and live at home growing up,” said Vogelhuber. “You’ll start seeing more and more [Ohio] kids playing college hockey and getting drafted in the NHL as a result.”