COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Boston Bruin, Sean Kuraly, has roots in the Buckeye State.
His parents still live in central Ohio, and he also has roots with the Blue Jackets so there’s a lot of people here who know him, including his hockey youth coach.
“Sean was one of the guys that blazed the trail early, and we’ve been fortunate to have a number of good hockey players to advance, but Sean and a few other guys have been great leaders for us,” said Ed Gingher, who is the coach of the Blue Jackets’ AAA affiliate.
It is a youth hockey team that Kuraly played with back in 2008 and 2009.
“He grew up in the program,” said Gingher. “So, we’ve seen Sean grow up into the pro and the wonderful young man he is now.”
Thanks to Kuraly’s play against the Maple Leaf’s, he will return to a place that’s very familiar to him. A place where he has left a great impression.
“There’s a lot of hockey players here in town that look up to him.”
Gingher said Kuraly has never forgotten his roots.
In fact, he’s been back to Nationwide Arena several times.
Once he dropped the first puck for a Blue Jackets game after winning gold for Team USA.
Gingher said through all the success, Kuraly is still the same tough player.
“A big motor, good skater. He gets after it. He competes and it’s something because he may not always be the most talented, but he was definitely one of the hardest workers and it’s proved him very well to play in the National Hockey League and seeing him have success last night in Game 7 was pretty special,” Gingher said.
He added while it’s special to see Kuraly have success in another city, this series will have the former coach torn.
“It’s going to be tough for a lot of us to root against him. We hope he plays well this series but definitely pulling for the Jackets,” he said.
Gingher said what stands out about Kuraly the most is not the hockey player has become but the role model he is for a lot of youth hockey players in the area.