Blue Jackets Sign First Columbus-Born Player, Kole Sherwood

The Columbus Blue Jackets have hit a milestone for the organization, signing the franchise’s first Columbus-born player, Kole Sherwood. He’s also the first player the franchise has signed coming out of the Ohio AAA Blue Jackets program.

It’s not an insignificant moment for the expansion franchise, who continues to work to grow hockey in Central Ohio. As noted in a piece by Aaron Portzline in the Columbus Dispatch, the team had their eye on the 18-year-old wing at the 2015 Entry Draft and, according to GM Jarmo Kekalainen, they even tried to acquire a second 7th round pick from another team in order to draft Sherwood. But it didn’t happen.

So, the team invited Sherwood to development camp and offered him a three-year entry level deal out of camp to join the club.

Sherwood was committed to playing for the Youngstown Phantoms in the USHL — where he grabbed three games at the end of last season — before heading to Boston University in 2017, but, according to Portzline, Sherwood has opted to forgo that route and will instead play with the London Knights of the OHL.

Portzline quotes Sherwood:

“It was going to take two years at Youngstown and four years at Boston U.,” Sherwood said. “Obviously things are going a lot quicker now, but I think I’m ready for it.

“I think it’s the best place for me to play. It’s an NHL schedule pretty much, 72 games. High skill, high level of play … it’s the best for my style of game.”

While fans from Ontario, Massachusetts, Quebec or Minnesota might smirk, it’s a great sign (and signing) for hockey in Columbus. The team is improving, getting deeper, and having an impact on the community that’s being felt all the way up to the NHL.

RELATED: Reilly’s Decision Leaves Blue Jackets Defense in Dire Straits

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