For most players at Development Camp, this week is an opportunity to get to know the city of Columbus, as well as the Blue Jackets organization, a bit better.
But for forwards Kole Sherwood and Carson Meyer, it’s another chance to play close to home.
Meyer, a free agent invite from Powell, and Sherwood, a second-year Blue Jackets prospect from New Albany, were teammates on the Ohio Junior Blue Jackets U16 team from 2012-2014 and then moved up together to the U18 team for the 2014-15 season. They were linemates on those teams, but they also happen to be best friends.
“It’s awesome to have [Meyer] here,” Sherwood said. “He’s really grown as a player over the last year, so it’s awesome for him to get rewarded.”
Over the last year prior to this Development Camp, the two players’ careers had diverged quite a bit. Columbus signed Sherwood to an entry-level contract after a strong showing last year, and the 19-year-old is set to start his second season with the OHL’s London Knights.
Meanwhile, the 18-year-old Meyer just finished up a season with the USHL’s Tri-City Storm, and will start his college career at Miami University in Oxford this fall.
But the Blue Jackets, as they have for years, brought the friends together once again.
“We grew up going to these games together, so now that we’re at this development camp together it’s kind of surreal,” Meyer said. “It’s something we could’ve only dreamed of when we were younger. It’s unbelievable.”
Sherwood said he had a clue that Meyer was going to be invited to Development Camp before it was made official, but decided not to tell his friend because he didn’t want to ruin the surprise. Once it had been made official, the two shared a celebratory moment over the phone, given the chance to play together once again.
Sherwood and Meyer have skated in the same practice group throughout the week, and played on the same team (led by their former U-18 coach Ed Gingher) in the 4-on-4 tournament on Thursday.
Though he loves Columbus (and playing with Sherwood), Meyer said that in his immediate future, he is not picky about which NHL team offers him a contract out of college, should he get the opportunity. Later on down the line, though, it may be a different story. Meyer said he got into hockey because of the Blue Jackets, and was a fan from a young age as he discovered the game he grew to love.
“Maybe if I get the opportunity to be a little more specific further in my career, I’d pick Columbus, obviously, being from this area, but we’ll see what happens,” he said.