April 10, 2015
Another arena I was really looking forward to seeing, and it lived up to all the hype. There are only six NHL arenas newer than Nationwide Arena, so it has all the features fans want in an arena building: variety of food and beverage venues, lots of natural light in the building, and lots of room to mingle and move around. And on top of all that, a great location, with lots of places to eat and drink before or after the game.
It’s neat the affinity fans have for their anthem singers, some arenas more than others. In Columbus, their regular anthem singer (Leo Welsh) is revered by their fans, and when he finishes singing the Star Spangled Banner, the fans shout out “Leo.” Another thing the fans chant is “CBJ, CBJ.” I guess “Go Blue Jackets Go” is too long!
With the anthem sung, I like watching the officials wish each other luck before the game begins. There’s usually a fist-pump between all four officials on the ice. I may be in the minority, but I have a lot of respect for the men who call the game!
I took a photo with the famous Blue Jackets cannon. It’s an authentic working reproduction of a Civil War era cannon, and they fire it off after every home team goal. It didn’t take long to hear the cannon – the Blue Jackets scored the fastest goal of my trip, 14 seconds into the game. I also ran into one of the nicest media guys I’ve met along my travels – Dave Maetzold, who I met in Chicago on game #15 of my trip. Dave interviewed me as the visiting media in Chicago, and he made a point to find me at the game in Columbus! (That’s Dave on the right in the second photo below, a photo taken with the Fox Sports crew.)
And last not but not least, here’s the Columbus Blue Jackets mascot, Stinger. It’s pretty hard to beat Sharkie as my favorite mascot (Sharkie gave me a big boost when he visited me in San Jose, a game when I was not feeling too well), but Stinger may be the coolest looking mascot in the NHL.
Sorry for the short report folks (I may add to it later), but I have an early flight tomorrow morning, for my last game which takes place in Toronto. My flight departs at 7 a.m. (and it’s cross-border), so I have to get up at 4:30 a.m. Speaking of flights, today was a close call. I needed two flights to get from Montreal to Columbus, and my second flight was delayed leaving the stopover point (Toronto) for “maintenance issues.” I didn’t get in to Columbus until 5 p.m., so I barely made this game, but I still made not only the opening face-off, but the pre-game skate, so my “record” is a perfect 29 for 29! And there’s nothing stopping me from making the game in Toronto tomorrow!