Legends: Sherf made most of his talents

You could say that John Sherf made the most of his cup of coffee to the National Hockey League.

While playing just 19 games with the Detroit Red Wings in the late 1930s and early 1940s, the late Calumet product achieved some notable things.

Perhaps the most significant was having his name added to the 1936-37 Stanley Cup — the first American citizen to have that distinction.

“That was a big thrill,” Sherf said in a 1985 interview. “Just to play in a Stanley Cup was always a dream of mine.”

Sherf also picked up an assist in the cup series versus the New York Rangers, making him the very first U.S. citizen to do that.

Sherf said that growing up in Calumet made him very aware of the future possibilities.

“It was a pretty sure thing you would end up in the mines after high school,” he recalled. “A lot of guys chose to try for a career in hockey.”

Before the pros came calling, Sherf earned a scholarship to the University of Michigan.

He gained a spot on the Wolverines hockey team and helped them to a 32-13-4 record with his stellar play.

He led the Western Conference in 1934 with 23 goals and 17 assists.

That showing was enough to earn him all-conference honors for a second straight season.

The Red Wings assigned him to their minor league club, the Detroit Olympics, where he showed enough to earn a roster spot in the Stanley Cup against the Rangers.

He would spend time with the Pittsburgh Hornets until 1944. He played his final season that year for the Wings.

His best season in the minors came in 1938 when he racked up 18 goals and 22 assists with the Hornets.

Sherf stayed active in hockey circles by serving in the University of Michigan “M” Club and the Red Wings Alumni Association.

He also established the John Sherf Trophy, which went to the winner of the annual series between Calumet and Hancock High School.

“That (trophy) was a big thing for our hockey teams,” former CHS coach Jim Crawford often said. “It gave us some incentive, if we needed it, to play Hancock.”

John was inducted into the University of Michigan Sports Hall of Fame in 1981.

Sherf died in 1991, but the Sherf Trophy is still contested for.


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