When the Blue Jackets took the ice to host the Tampa Bay Lightning Monday night at Nationwide Arena, New Albany native Kole Sherwood was surrounded by friends and family for his hometown NHL debut.
Sherwood is the first Central Ohio product to play for the Blue Jackets.
Sherwood grew up playing for the AAA Blue Jackets organization. His former coaches joined Sherwood’s family and friends in a suite at Nationwide Arena Monday night to support him as he became the first graduate of that program to suit up on the ice for the Blue Jackets.
“We’re all kind of one big family. Columbus is a small hockey community and everyone supports everyone and it’s really refreshing and very wonderful to see,” said Roger Sherwood, Kole’s father.
“You could see the talent and it was just a matter of time, and he stuck with it and put the work in. And this was a dream for everybody, someday you knew it was going to happen, you just didn’t know when, so tonight’s the night, so it’s pretty special,” said Ed Gingher, Head Coach of the AAA Blue Jackets.
When Sherwood took the ice for pregame warm-ups, he looked calm and ready. His parents felt very different.
“Their goal is finally upon them, and it’s us who are more nervous than they are because we want them to do well,” said Roger.
Kole knows many of the AAA Blue Jackets players look up to him, and he gave them some advice when he said, “Don’t take anything for granted, we’re so fortunate to get to play the game that we love, you know, just keep working and strive for your dreams, stay focused, you know there’s so many distractions at a young age.”