Like any Canadian kid growing up, J.D. Kershaw wanted to play hockey. He played at a young age and took the path to playing professionally through prep school and college in the United States. He played in Europe for a couple of years and skated around for a few more in the minors. Well, he finally made it up to the NHL, except he’s not on the bench or the ice, but in the front office.
Kershaw took an unlikely path to get to where he is today. He learned the ropes of an NHL front office with the San Jose Sharks when he was given a shot in their marketing department. Then, a couple of years down the road, he was given a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. “The NHL asked me to work in their European offices in Zurich,” reflects Kershaw. “I learned a lot about marketing and the business side of the game there. Doing business in so many different countries really added to my experience.”
He came to be in Columbus after his wife, Kimberly, was brought in to be the Columbus Blue Jackets’ director of event presentation. They also asked J.D. if he would be the director of marketing and fan development and he jumped all over it. “I always knew that I wanted to stay involved in the game,” says Kershaw. “Guys like me typically become a scout or an assistant coach when they are done playing. I was given an opportunity in the office here and it’s something I really enjoy now.”
Even though the seats haven’t been packed as much as he’d like, he sees a beaming light at the end of the tunnel. “I’ve seen it happen already in San Jose,” says Kershaw. “As soon as this team makes the playoffs, it’s going to take it to a whole new level. It will never be the same again.” With the new season starting the way it has, his theory may be tested earlier than later.
For more information on the Blue Jackets go to www.bluejackets.com