Kole Sherwood, a Product of Dedication & Ohio Youth Hockey
Kole Sherwood’s professional hockey career started uniquely, as the first Columbus born-and-raised player to sign with the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets. However, when it came to his start in the sport itself, the story is like so many others - skating young and joining local youth hockey teams.
At four years old Sherwood’s his older brother, Kiefer, went with their dad to a men’s league hockey game. Kiefer enjoyed watching and asked to start skating, quickly turning hockey into a family sport. After following Kiefer's lead and also learning to skate, Kole then joined a youth team in Columbus to tackle hockey fundamentals and basics.
“Youth hockey was big for development,” said Sherwood. “There are so many kids that it is not too competitive, but just competitive enough where it keeps you wanting to play more and loving the sport.”
Sherwood then grew to travel hockey, Tier 1 Elite Hockey and even played games in the USHL. Following his final season with the Ohio Blue Jackets U18 team, the New Albany, Ohio, native participated in the Columbus Blue Jackets Development camp and quickly made an impact.
Sherwood signed his first professional contract with the Blue Jackets on July 7, 2015, followed by three seasons played in the OHL and a few Cleveland Monsters appearances. Now entering his first official rookie year in the AHL, the forward has recently begun to hit his stride.
Among his milestones, Sherwood recently registered his first professional goal, multi-point night, points in back-to-back games, and a significant game-winning goal in overtime on Nov. 30 against the North Division’s top team, Syracuse Crunch.
Looking back on his path, the meaning of signing with his hometown team is not lost on Sherwood when it comes to how it can develop future Ohio-grown players; and being able to list the local teams leading him to this point is something Sherwood can do without any problem: the Columbus Stars, Columbus Cardinals and Columbus Capitals being just a few.
“I think it is huge to set the stones and be one of the first guys to do it,” said Sherwood. “It is an honor and a cool experience that I do not take for granted at all.”
While Ohio is home to many hockey teams and programs, the area still isn't typically thought of as a hotbed for the sport, making Sherwood’s rise through the ranks that much more meaningful and a testament to quality of programs throughout the state.
Looking back to where it all started, the development and learning fundamentals is what Sherwood claims to be key.
“The environment [of youth hockey] helps mold you as a player and it’s a good learning tool, especially for beginners. It’s just awesome.”