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.