Colton Gerrior might not yet be old enough to drive, but he is the one in the driver’s seat in pursuing his future in hockey, according to his dad Jehd.
On May 22, 2023, Colton signed to the Seattle Thunderbirds, a Western Hockey League (WHL) team, with what is called a WHL Scholarship and Development Agreement.
“I’ve told Colton it’s up to him,” said Jehd of his 14 year-old son Colton, pointing out he is not a pushy dad.
“He’s a very driven kid.”
Colton was signed with the team after being drafted in the fourth round and 87th overall in the 2023 Western Hockey League (WHL) Prospects Draft.
His size and skating were what made him well-suited to the WHL, according to their advisor, said Jehd, with the WHL being one of the two main routes to a professional hockey career. At 14 years old, Colton is already over 6-feet tall and 175 pounds.
Many of those in the NHL are brought up from the WHL or the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).
While Colton won’t be able to play full time for the team at his age, he is committed to Seattle and will likely be moving to Seattle full time in a couple of years.
In Seattle, Colton would be living with a billet family and he would receive a small stipend, making him a semi-professional hockey player.
Colton has been working towards this next step for a long time.
It’s a very big commitment,” admitted Jehd, meaning both financially and in terms of time.
“But it’s what they do.”
Jehd said he has two really good kids because their time is busy and structured. He thinks this will help get them on a very good path for their lives.
His daughter Paige, who is turning 12, is also in competitive hockey.
While Jehd is concerned about his son leaving home, he said not only does he know Colton will have support in Seattle, but it is something Jehd and his wife Krista have known could be coming as they have watched him develop.
“I think it’s going to be the hardest on myself and Krista,” he said, noting they will likely be down to watch games or visit as much as they can.
“He knows we’ll be there,” he said, while still admitting it will be a little nerve-wracking having him so far away.
But he is also confident in his son, and his son’s capabilities and looks forward to seeing him be given opportunities to learn alongside more experienced players.
The hardest part might be the shift away from their local hockey family.
Having played with much of the same players and their families since the age of seven or eight years old, the Total Ice Titans and now the North Stars Hockey Academy have become like family.
“It’s a really special group,” said Jehd, who feels fortunate Colton is a part of it.
“Our kids are very respectful,” he said, though once those “kids” step onto the ice, they appear transformed.
“On the ice, they look like adults.”
Colton is one of three North Stars Hockey Academy players picked by Seattle in a recent draft, the other players picked up were Jaxson Dikur and Asher Lucas, who will be featured in future articles.