A brush fire of sorts erupted yesterday when word spread on Twitter that Kevin Schroeder aka Dancing Kevin was prevented from dancing shirtless at Nationwide Arena on Sunday when the Blue Jackets hosted the Pittsburgh Penguins. But how could this be? They sell a freaking sandwich named after the guy inside the arena, amiright? The fact that the arena was filled to capacity thanks to a large cadre of visiting Penguins fans only added to the intrigue, and became the gas thrown on the fire. Did Nationwide security personnel cave in to Penguins fans and tell Dancing Kevin to put his shirt on?
Last night brought the Phoenix Coyotes to town and also marked the 2nd “Hockey and Heels” event put on by the Columbus Blue Jackets. I was very excited to go to since last year’s quickly became my favorite hockey event of the season. I think getting more women involved with – and loving – hockey is something to be supported. There are a lot of very smart female hockey fans and we are constantly fighting to get the hockey world to realize that women who follow the great game aren’t just puck bunnies, or people looking for distraction “while the men watch” (ahem). So kudos to the Blue Jackets for giving women a night to hang out, talk hockey, and enjoy some girl time.
The Jackets continue to uphold their reputation for doing things for their fans in high style. Hockey and Heels was held in the Founder’s Club and was set up with a bar at the ready (complete with a ‘signature drink’) and a full spread of goodies to snack on. Every attendee received a $50 gift certificate from Meyer’s Jewelers, a raffle ticket for event giveaways and, upon leaving, a Blue Jackets wine glass. It was great to see a lot of familiar faces but also a lot of new ones. Everyone was pretty excited and grabbed seats, packing the room full and it was time for the event to get underway.
When news came down this past Friday that the long predicted cancellation of the 2013 All Star Game was a reality, I found myself feeling numb. I share the ‘fan perspective’ (no lawyerly knowledge here) on Union Blue and while we here have tried to steer clear of opining on the lockout, game cancellations and speculation on the ASG, it’s now my duty to reflect on the first part of this mess that has truly become a reality and hits not only the Blue Jackets, but Columbus directly.
One of my fellow contributors gave me a gentle nudge today…”you’re writing about the All-Star Game, right?” Yeah. I guess I will. But what more can I say that hasn’t already been said? I mean, we all know the facts by now: no All-Star Game in 2013 for Columbus and the only assurance we have of getting one in the future is that the league is going to work to bring the game back to Columbus “as quickly as possible”. Not too reassuring, eh? Lori Schmidt did clarify that we shouldn’t read too much into the exact wording but still, for the beleaguered Jackets fan, this is one more event that leaves us feeling slighted.
Perhaps the biggest gift professional athletes have is that they make the most difficult things look easy. When we watch players play hockey, they seemingly glide effortlessly across the ice at ridiculous speeds. What we marvel at is their stick handling, the dekeing en route to a gorgeous goal, the fight that rallies the crowd. But about seven months ago, I decided I was going to play hockey. Now, when I watch hockey, while I appreciate all those things, my commentary is “did you see that transition?” “I can’t BELIEVE what that guy just did on his skates!” That is because the first thing I had to do was learn how to skate…as most everyone will tell you, skating is the foundation of playing hockey. You have to be a good skater before you can be good at hockey.
There are a lot of phenomenal skating classes out there today, including those offered by the local Chillers but sometimes, committing to an 8 week class, and the associated fees can be a challenge when one is still trying to figure things out.
It is with this in mind, that the Union Blue is proud to bring you a Hockey Skating Class!
Join us SUNDAY, October 21st – 4 – 6 PM for two hours of on-ice instruction on how to SKATE LIKE A HOCKEY PLAYER!
Come out and join us at The Ice Haus!
For $20, you can join in a class that will show you not just “how to skate” but the techniques that are unique to skating for the game.
You don’t need to be a great skater – you just need to be able to move on the ice in skates without having to hold on to the boards at all times. Even if you are currently playing hockey, this class can help you focus on doing things the right way and honing in on your skating technique.
You don’t need to own skates – you can rent them at the rink.
If you have a stick, you can bring it, but you don’t need any pads – just yourself and skates on your feet.
We’ll also have a visit by Stinger, Jackets TV some Blue Jackets swag to give away…and perhaps a couple more surprises.
If you would like to join us, RSVP today. To state your intent to join, you can comment in our Forum HERE. To confirm your spot, we need to receive your money. Once you have commented that you’ll be joining, I’ll message you mailing information. To ensure that everyone can get attention during the class, spots are limited so RSVP TODAY.
If you have any questions, you are also more than welcome to email me at email@example.com
Learning how to skate has only grown my appreciation for the sport of hockey and the work that goes into playing at even the most basic level. I love my time on the ice, and even though there’s a lockout, we can still bring hockey to life in Columbus.
The Schedule Showcase continues this week with a look at the November 23rd home match up against the Nashville Predators. Ah Nashville. The team we love to hate. The Friday match up will represent the first time these two teams match up in the 2012-13 season so both teams should have been able to settle in to their new rosters and see what they are really bringing to the ice this year. The intrigue should continue to run high with Nashville and Columbus being the topic of a lot of off-season conversation.
So once again, without further ado, read on to see our thoughts on what this matchup will bring.
Looking forward to the 2012-13 schedule, there are a few games that already are drawing the attention of the fan base so we’re putting these together into a “Schedule Showcase”. The optimist in us has us believing in the schedule as defined (no lockout) and looking towards the first Friday night game at Nationwide against an in-conference opponent. October 26th against the Minnesota Wild. Last season had the Jackets going 2-1 against the Wild, and with the off-season acquisitions of Ryan Suter and Zach Parise, the Wild certainly became a “team to watch”. Consider also that Minnesota is the former home of our head coach, Todd Richards, and winger, Colton Gilles, and this match up looks to be one that will not only be entertaining, but also a good benchmark for what these new Jackets will bring to the ice.
Here at Union Blue, we’re going to take a quick look at what to watch for, what new players are on the horizon for this match-up in the form of a prospect spotlight, and the game experience. So let’s get on with it!
The proverbial cat is out of the bag. The Blue Jackets have announced their new slogan (thankfully retiring the “Gotta See it Live” tagline of the past two years) and have introduced “Join the Battle”.
Keeping with our rich CBJ history as fans, much debate ensued over if this was “good enough” or “better” than what CBJ have marketed in the past. Which to me, shows we can’t wait for some real hockey action to start, but, that aside, I believe that this new tagline is a great next step for an organization that might finally, finally be ready to turn the corner.
As my colleagues continue to provide tremendous hockey-focused coverage here, every now and then its fun to pop in and look at what the Blue Jackets are doing in the off-season away from the on-ice product.
Today was the inaugural “Front Street Friday“. For those of you on twitter, you can follow updates by searching the hashtag #CBJFSF. You could not have asked for a more beautiful day, and it always amazes me to take a look at the tremendous location that the Arena District has become. As a born and raised Columbus-ite, we couldn’t have imagined that 30 years ago!
I am not one to call out a fan base. In fact, while I love to discuss, argue, celebrate, and dwell over the game of hockey, I rarely chime in on discussions about the fans. For Columbus, it seems to have become commonplace to discuss and usually speak negatively about the fan base (or lack there of), causing many jaded, success hungry individuals to take a rather dark line on responding to the analysts around the league.
My first concern, of course, is the misdirected hatred. Certainly we have seen plenty of negative commentary flood the #CBJ feed on twitter, and the annual pessimism towards team success leaves many fans ready to jump at any biased or unfair comment they see, but we as a fan base would probably do well to stop. Admittedly I have been at fault in this scenario, but I have changed my strategy a bit and it seems to be working quite well. Rather than throwing names or generating negativity towards someone, I have begun demanding accountability towards silly accusations. I cannot help but think that many in the hockey world find the Blue Jackets community to be lacking in hockey knowledge, and if we can represent our team through logic and fact, I believe it will do well to reduce the amount of un-researched negativity.
My second concern is a need (as a whole) for this fan base to get more people educated about the game of hockey. While the franchise is still relatively new in comparison to other teams in the league, it is high time to remove the awful stigma that Columbus is ‘hockey stupid’ or ‘fair weather’ in any sort of way. I believe the roots of hockey in Ohio are quite strong, stemming back to a number of Ohio native NHLers, strong hockey colleges, and as far back as the Barons in Cleveland. I am going to take it upon myself to get more people involved in the game of hockey and try to educate them on the rules and concept of the game, and I truly hope the rest of the fan base who have stuck through during the last decade of Blue Jackets history will do the same. New fans deserve to know how and why this franchise was made possible. They deserve to know why Rick Nash and Jeff Carter on the ice together is something this team has never seen talent-wise, and they deserve to know why hockey belongs in Columbus.
Finally, I am very concerned with the representation at hockey games. While I can appreciate the disdain towards a losing record, or a faltered play, booing the on ice product will never benefit anyone. A long time ago I tried to define what it means to be a fan. The best I could come up with, was “someone who loves, lives, and CHEERS a team, through the great times and the bad times.” If people are booing the Blue Jackets, they are not acting like a fan in my books. Rather than kick our boys while they are down, I believe the Columbus fan base needs to make a concentrated effort to avoid making things worse than they already are.
This was brought about thanks to an awesome conversation this weekend between myself and a few other fantastic Blue Jackets fans. When we thought back to the game, it was noted that there was quite a bit of booing as the Jackets struggled to gain the zone during the powerplay, and frankly, I understand. I was sitting in my seat huffing and puffing, sighing and “oh my god’ing” as much as anyone, but I never booed. By the time the Jackets scored their second goal, I was already personally defeated and while I went through the goal claps and chants, I really did not have it in me to get crazy excited about the game.
I will give the fans credit where they deserve it, as they rallied big time in the last few minutes of the game trying to generate solid energy for the guys working to tie the game, but I wonder if it was too little too late. They needed this momentum to get out of their funk in the second period, which was notably miserable in terms of fan response. I am going to jump on board the band wagon whether the on-ice product deserves it or not. I may not be a season ticket holder, nor is it all that likely that I will attend more than 25 games this year, but when I do I will make sure to be as much of a positive influence as possible, and I truly hope other Jackets fans do the same.
It’s time to take back this arena and make it the experience we know it can be. Cut the booing. This team can do better, but so can we. Carry the Flag!