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John Harold "Johnny" Sherf (April 8, 1913, Calumet, Michigan – August 19, 1991, Dearborn, Michigan) was a National Hockey League player and the first American citizen to have his name engraved on the Stanley Cup.
John Sherf was born and spent his childhood years in Calumet in the state's Upper Peninsula. He participated in youth ice hockey, which was popular in the cold climate of the area. By the time he graduated from Calumet High School his hockey skills were widely recognized. In the working class area where he was raised, he was destined to go to work in the copper mines in the area, continuing his hockey career in the local semi-professional leagues. A local physician took an interest in Sherf and provided him with a scholarship to attend the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.
Sherf attended Michigan from 1932 until 1936, majoring in history and playing hockey on the varsity team during all four years. He played center at U of M for three seasons. John was the leading scorer in the 1934–35 season with 23 goals and 14 assists in 16 games. In 1935–36, he was the leading scorer of the Western Conference with 33 goals and 10 assists in 17 games. That year, Michigan's opponents scored a combined total of only 30 goals. During his senior year Sherf was elected captain of the hockey team.
Sherf graduated from Michigan in June, 1936. Before he was awarded his degree at the annual commencement ceremony, he was signed to a contract by the Detroit Red Wings of the National Hockey League (NHL). He played several games at the end of the 1935–36 season with the Red Wings top farm team, the Detroit Olympics. He was also called up to play with the Red Wings during the Stanley Cup playoffs that season. The 1936–37 season was Sherf's most memorable as a professional. He played with the American Hockey League's Pittsburgh Hornets, after the Detroit Olympics were moved to Pittsburgh and re-named. At the end of the 1936–37 season Sherf was called up by the Red Wings for the playoffs to help defend their Stanley Cup championship. He collected one point in five games as the Red Wings won their second straight Stanley Cup by beating the New York Rangers three games to two. He was the first American citizen to be a member of an NHL playoff championship team, having his name engraved on the Stanley Cup as a member of the champion Detroit Red Wings.
Johnny Sherf continued his professional hockey career until 1944. He was a member of the Detroit Red Wings for his entire career but was often assigned to the top Red Wings farm team, the Pittsburgh Hornets. Sherf gained recognition both with the Red Wings as well as the Hornets. Sherf is still the seventh leading scorer in the history of the Pittsburgh Hornets, scoring 94 goals and 121 assists in 301 games played. After being called for military service in 1943, he returned to the Red Wings in 1944 before retiring from professional hockey.
He played in 19 NHL regular season games but scored no points. He scored one assist in eight playoff games.
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