Youth hockey on the rise in Columbus with local athletes drafted in NHL.

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Two years ago Jack Roslovic became the first Central Ohio hockey player drafted in the first round of the NHL draft, and since, youth hockey in Central Ohio has seen a rise in numbers joining the Columbus Youth Hockey Leagues.

It maybe the off-season for CYHL, but a number of players practice throughout the summer at the 8 indoor ice skating rinks at 5 OhioHealth Chiller Ice Rinks in Columbus.

Pickerington native Landon Kallenberg started skating at the age of 3, and he loves getting on the ice as much as possible. “I love hockey…that’s it…that’s just it,” Landon told NBC4.

His father, Scott is one of the coaches in the Easton Youth Hockey League, and he says every year more kids are wanting to join the sport in Columbus. “It’s pretty awesome how many kids are now playing,” said Kallenberg.

“I didn’t have this when I was a kid, 10 years ago kids didn’t have this,” added Chris Watts, a hockey father and coach. His son, Ian dreams of making it to the NHL. “We just try to have fun, do drills to work on our edge work to just try and improve to make the NHL,” said Ian.

Kallenberg added, “They teach us as parents and as coaches that the percentages of the kids making it into the NHL are minimal, so right off the bat you’re like, well, we’ll worry about that later.”

However, their kids look up to homegrown talents Carson Meyer and Kole Sherwood, who have both been drafted by the Columbus Blue Jackets. “We’ve got all these guys that are coming out of Central Ohio now that are making it to the NHL, it’s hard to tell your kid now you’re not going to make the NHL,” said Watts.

He added, “They look up to those AAA (Blue Jackets) kids, and then the older kids, and then definitely the Jackets, I mean they do no wrong in their eyes.”
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