Sean Kuraly won't be the first Columbus native and Ohio AAA Blue Jackets product to play for the Blue Jackets.
It seems pretty assured he won't be the last, either, given the way the program is churning out college-level and NHL-caliber talent.
But he checks another box for those who see the symbiotic nature of the success of the youth hockey program and the Columbus Blue Jackets. The establishment of the Jackets led to a surge in interest in the sport, which is paying off as more and more central Ohio natives make it to the top rungs of the sport.
That led to 2019, when Kole Sherwood became the first AAA Jackets alum and Central Ohio native to skate for the Jackets. Two years later, Jack Roslovic became the first NHL regular to join the squad when he was acquired from Winnipeg.
And now Kuraly is the first to establish his career elsewhere then return to the capital city as a free agent to skate for the hometown team. To hear him tell it, that was largely because of what he watched develop from afar over the past few seasons.