COLUMBUS -- What little he knew of the NHL, a 10-year-old Ryo Hashimoto learned from viewing a highlight video at home in Sapporo, Japan.
"I watched a lot of games but it was the same tape over and over again," he said Tuesday through a translator. "Now I can pick up the computer and follow on NHL.com."
Hashimoto got a chance this week to see the NHL firsthand as a free-agent invitee to Columbus Blue Jackets development camp that ended Thursday.
The 21-year-old hopes his efforts eventually lead to a contract with the Blue Jackets, but the Japanese Hockey Federation already has benefitted from his time here.
"People are following him back home," said Yasuhiro Umeta, the vice chief secretary for Asia League Ice Hockey who traveled with Hashimoto and acted as his interpreter.
"I'm so happy he has the opportunity. He thinks he can play here."