USA Hockey Magazine

October 2015

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first liners PROFILES OF PRIME TIME PLAYERS 12 OCTOBER. 2015 USAHOCKEYMAGAZINE.COM he first time Kole Sherwood stepped foot on the ice at Nationwide Arena in downtown Columbus, he was a 7-year-old skating in a 3-on-3 cross-ice game during an inter- mission of the U.S. vs. Russia exhibition contest prior to the 2004 World Cup of Hockey. There's a good chance it won't be the last. The New Albany, Ohio, native grew up with a dream of one day wearing the home- town colors of his beloved Blue Jackets, and thanks to an impressive showing at the club's development camp in July he's taken a giant step closer to turn- ing that into a reality. Sherwood signed a three- year entry-level deal, becom- ing the first Columbus native to ink a deal with the Blue Jackets. The signing triggered a series of life-changing events for the product of the Ohio Blue Jackets AAA program. "It's been a whirlwind," Sherwood said. "It's a dream come true to play for your hometown team. I had no clue about this happening until the last few days." Originally slated to attend Boston University, Sherwood did an about face after sign- ing the deal and accepted an offer to play for the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League. Still, leaving behind one of the preeminent programs in college hockey was not an easy decision. "It was hard [to decommit] because they've been so good to me," Sherwood said of the Terriers' coaching staff. Things couldn't have turned out better after he was passed over at the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. Several teams still thought enough of him to extend an invitation to their development camps, along with his 20-year-old brother Keifer. "I was disappointed," Sherwood said of the draft snub. "I knew I was going to go to the development camp, so I made the best of the opportunity and just put my head down and tried to prove myself." He definitely did enough to impress the Blue Jackets staff, including general manager Jarmo Kekalainen. The signing came on the heels of Jack Roslovic becoming the first Columbus-born player to be drafted in the first round by the Winnipeg Jets. It's just another example of how hockey has grown in central Ohio since the Blue Jackets arrived in 2000. "We're very excited for him," said Ed Gingher, coach of the Ohio Blue Jackets. Gingher mentioned that Sherwood is the perfect exam- ple of a player who probably wasn't the best at age 12 or 13, but with a sudden growth spurt and strong work ethic he shot through the roof. He fin- ished last season with 22 goals and 26 assists in 31 games with the Tier I program. "He continued to get better and better," Gingher said. "I see that trend continuing for him." After hearing that Sherwood had signed with the Blue Jackets, Gingher sent the 18-year-old a congratulatory text asking if it had sank in yet. And then, in typical coach fashion, Gingher said it was time to get back to work. He received a response at 11 o'clock that night. It was a photo of Sherwood shooting pucks at his house with a message that read, "Back to work, coach." PHOTOS COURTESY OF Columbus Blue Jackets; Grubb family KOLE SHERWOOD POSITION: Right Wing SHOOTS: Right HEIGHT: 6-foot-0 WEIGHT: 185 pounds BIRTH DATE: Jan. 22, 1997 HOMETOWN: New Albany, Ohio JUNIOR HOCKEY: Appeared in three games with the USHL Youngstown Phantoms NHL EXPERIENCE: Signed a three-year entry-level contract with the Columbus Blue Jackets. USA HOCKEY HISTORY: Appeared in three USA Hockey Player Development Camps. T When Cohen Grubb started skating as an 8-year-old, his coaches said he was "unsafe" on skates and was going to be held back from advancing into a Mite league. Rather than use that negative evaluation as a deterrent, Cohen used it as motivation to improve his skating skills. "I had to practice a lot," said the 11-year-old. "And it felt good to get better." He improved his skating by attending more public skating and Sticks & Pucks sessions whenever he could. And when it came time to try out for the league, he was chosen to join the Willowbrook Mites. Even with his improved skating skills, Cohen volunteered right away to play between the pipes, and has loved it ever since. This past season he helped his team to the playoff semifinals before losing to the eventual champs. In his free time, he loves to read and is also involved in taekwondo to stay active. Cohen proved that hard work and passion can get you where you want to go; you just have to want it. YOUTH STAR COHEN GRUBB AGE: 11 Cypress, Texas By TRISH BRADLE Columbus Native Discovered By Hometown Blue Jackets

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