September 03, 2015

John Sherf

John Sherf is the answer to a couple of fascinating hockey trivia questions. He was the first Michigander to play for the Detroit Red Wings. He was also the first U.S. citizen to have his name on the Stanley Cup.

Sherf was born and grew up in Calumet, Michigan. He was a well known high school star well known through the Upper Peninsula. Hockey was his ticket out of working in the copper mines, a right of passage for youth in Calumet. Instead he was given a scholarship to study at the University in Michigan.

The curly-haired Sherf attended the University of Michigan from 1932 until 1935, earning a degree in history while staring on the varsity hockey team. The Detroit Red Wings took note and signed him to a contract in time for the 1935-36 season.

Over his professional career the speedster was essentially farmed out exclusively, playing primarily with the Pittsburgh Hornets. But he was called up to play a total 19 games with the Red Wings in the regular season, and 8 more in the playoffs.

The highlight of his career was in the NHL playoffs of 1937. He was called up and played in five post-season contests, registering one assist. The Red Wings won the Stanley Cup that spring, and Sherf would get his name included on the Stanley Cup - the first US born and raised player to ever do so.

Sherf would play pro hockey until 1944, missing one season due to military commitments in World War II. After retiring as a player he worked for many years for Ford, as he had already established a good working relationship with the car maker as he worked as a summer employee during the hockey offseason starting back as a University student.

Sherf actually upgraded his education further by earning a Master of Business Administration degree at Wayne State University. He would use that to become a senior executive at Ford in the Manufacturing Division.

Sherf always kept close ties with both his Alma Mater and the Red Wings. He served as national President of the University of Michigan M Club and the Detroit Red Wings Alumni Association.

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