Some say Columbus isn’t a hockey town. They say it’s a joke to house a NHL team in Ohio. Reporters all over the NHL say there isn’t a market for hockey in Columbus, let alone Ohio. Columbus’ fandom is the butt of everyone’s jokes. Columbus is a misunderstood hockey town.

Bright and early yesterday morning hockey fans all over the Columbus area piled into their favorite hockey bar, R Bar.  The USA chants started almost immediately after puck drop. Every goal was accompanied by cheers so loud they could wake the dead. When they raised the American flag the bar belted out the National Anthem with such gusto I’m sure people a mile away could hear. We love our hockey. We are loud. We are obnoxious. We are proud. We are honest bordering a little on the over emotional side. We are more than just a NHL hockey town. We are an every kind of hockey town. When we are hungry for hockey we find games to satisfy that hunger.  During this lock out we have traveled near and far to get our hockey fix. AHL, ECHL,College, High School, pee wee, sled, and even beer leagues. We follow team USA religiously. Here’s the thing. We may not be strictly Jackets fans. You can’t expect that from a state that didn’t have a team until 2000.  Within six hours of Nationwide Arena there are six rather successful hockey teams. Five of which have been in existence for at least 38 years. Our fans are slowly evolving. Every week a new Blue Jacket fan is born. When opposing fans enter Nationwide Arena we try to convert them. We strike up conversations with random people wearing other teams jerseys. It’s easy to convert fans when the players are approachable and the organization takes an active interest in the fans.  We are slowly turning Ohio into a state full of  Blue Jackets fans.

Columbus may not be a Blue Jackets town but it is a hockey town. We eat, breathe, sleep, bleed, and live hockey. We have homemade rinks in our backyards. Monday nights are spent watching football on the televisions at the local Chiller in-between periods of rec league hockey games. Walk into any parking lot in Columbus and you will see at least two vanity plates dedicated to hockey. We own a multitude of hats not because we like to wear them but because we like to throw them. We even use hockey terms to describe plays in every other sport. We can’t help it. We are addicted.

Columbus is a hockey town. We accept all walks of hockey life. We may not have a Stanley cup but at least we aren’t hockey snobs.

 

  • Morgan Langworthy

    Is hockey woven into the fabric of the Columbus community even 10% of what OSU athletics is? How much coverage do the CBJ get eqch week on TV news, 8 minutes? Is the Polaris BWs packed for a Wednesday night game against the Coyotes? Columbus has a small, hard core base of passionate hockey fans like nothing else I’ve ever seen. But the sport of hockey is not part of the life blood of the metro area’s 2 million people. Its ok to wish Columbus was a hockey town, but its not.

  • Bryan

    Well Morgan.. Many hockey fans here have been loyal to their team before CBJ (chi, Tor, Pit, Det). So, no there isn’t a MASSIVE CBJ environment but it is a vastly growing hockey town. No team can hold a match to the OSU following. Nationally one of the most followed programs all over the country. It’s growing and has survived 2 lockouts thus far. Every home game is aired and the arena has better attendance than a garbage NY Islanders franchise. Do we have an original 6 team… No. Do we live in a market like NYC, Boston, or Chi… No. During the past 113 days there has been a somber attitude due to no hockey. If we aren’t a hockey town then why is there a craving for it here?! If you live here then you can see that. Ohio sports fans have passion and loyalty. It is a hockey town but a larger football town. It’s not impossible to have both in a mid market city. Get some logic and drop the synical attitude towards a top sports region of fandom in the whole US.

  • Anonymous

    I have one question to ask: how full are original 6 teams arenas when they are losing? Why is it when i went to the redwings playoff game this year it wasn’t sold out? Of course the Polaris BWs isn’t packed on game night. People who don’t go to games end up in the Arena District because the atmosphere is electric. You say OSU athletics like people in Columbus take an active interest in the OSU lax team, the rifle team, the soccer team, golf team, etc. When reality says the teams that get the consistent recognition at OSU are football and basketball. The sport of hockey IS in the life blood of people in Columbus. Like I said it’s not just NHL and collegiate level that people take an active interest in. It’s also the beer leagues, the high school level, the sled hockey, and pee wee. Of course hockey in Columbus isn’t up to the same caliber as OSU football but neither is NFL football. I’ll admit on OSU gamedays the whole city of Columbus stops. Years and years of tradition help make that happen.

   
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