Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Nontraditional Fans of Hockey

From Grantland:
Prospects are different in hockey. They aren't the finished products of the NBA and NFL drafts. But they also aren't baseball draftees — low-yield investments whose maturity rates are insanely long and nowhere guaranteed. Hockey prospects fall in the middle. They're drafted at 18, crude and green. A few can make the jump. Most enter the maze of minor hockey leagues underneath the NHL.

They're all considered buds of pure potential, but theirs is potential that's expected to come to fruition fairly soon. (If at 25, 26 they haven't poked into the NHL daylight, they're busts.) They're kept buried in order to build the strength to compete in the corners, and to get accustomed to the speed of the professional game. They're planted in the favorable conditions against lesser competition so they can germinate as players.
Really, though, it's psychological. These draftees have all been their teams' best player since they were 5 years old. They've gotten to where they are because every time they hopped the boards, they honestly believed they were about to take control of the game. To thrust them into the NHL before they're ready is to disabuse them, or, worse, to make them delusional.

This is one reason why Columbus, Phoenix, and Florida are considered hockey's scorched earth, and why fans grieve for the heirloom players these teams draft every June. They don't (and can't) allow talented young players the time to develop, to get physically and mentally mature to where the play clicks for them like it has in the past, when they had the heart to insist themselves upon the game. Instead, these children (and they are children) are tossed onto desolate teams. Their self-conception, the one thing they've known to be true — that they can score or stop someone from scoring at will — withers. They rarely recover.
Great read with much more here.

For A New Start (F.A.N.S.)

Friday, April 13, 2012

Another PSL Holder's Letter To The Columbus Blue Jackets

*NOTE-- this letter was written by a PSL holder and while we may not agree with everything that is said, F.A.N.S. is an advocacy group and platform for fans to speak their minds and wish to be heard.

Here is another letter sent to the Columbus Blue Jackets from a season ticket holder. We were given permission to post this under the condition we did not use he or she's name:


Per our phone conversation last week I wanted to follow up with an email and give a little background as to where I stand on renewing my tickets for the upcoming season. 

 I grew up 30 miles north of Columbus in Licking County and have always wanted a professional team in Columbus to root for ever since I was a kid playing little league baseball.  I remember dreaming of a day when Columbus would get a professional baseball team or maybe an NBA team, so when Columbus was awarded a NHL franchise in the late 90s while I was a student at OSU I was ecstatic that I finally had a team to root for.  While in the beginning I could not afford season tickets I would find a way to go to about 3-5 games a year and have a good time with friends.  After graduating from OSU in 2003 I moved to St. Louis for work and got the pleasure of watching the St. Louis Blues extend their 25 year streak of making the Stanley Cup Playoffs with players of the caliber of Keith Tkachuk, Al Macinnis, Chris Pronger and more.  After the lockout I bought season tickets with a co-worker for 2005-2006 season to see some of the worst hockey the Blues had ever played but supported them(except when Columbus came to town) and had a good time at the games.  I have been a season ticket holder with the CBJ since I moved back to Columbus in 2006 and I was excited to be home and be in a position to enjoy watching my team on a regular basis.   

Now that you have a little background let me dive a little further into our conversation from last week.  At that time you asked if I had received my renewal package and if I had any questions.  I let you know that I had indeed received it and had no questions.  You then asked if I was going to be renewing this upcoming season and I informed you that I am at a crossroads on if I am going to renew or not.  I am not going to lie to you and tell you I am not going to renew as there is still a chance that I will but I will put that chance at 50/50 right now.  My problem with renewing and spending the money that the CBJ is asking is as follows: 

1)  After 5 years at the helm, Scott Howson and Mike Priest have not proven that they can build a consistent winner.  I applaud JPM of giving the green light to these men to spend extra cash to ice a competitive team and even with that they did not.  Scott Howson has made multiple bad decisions that have backfired and put this team in a position where they are in as bad or worse of a position than when he took over.  He has signed young, unproven players to long term deals(Mason, Brassard, Jake V), he has made trades of good young NHL talent for aging vets that did not pan out(Tarnstrum, Clark), and he has left holes on this team year in and year out  that were not addressed in the off-season (Goaltending this year, #1 Center/Defensemen in years past).  Mike Priest has not acted on weaknesses in the front office from less than par scouting (No 2nd round picks on the roster and only 3/5 Priest first rounders still on the team), turnover at the coaching position(4 coaches in 5 years) and no action in change at the GM position with less than desirable performance. 

2)  Pricing of concessions is out of control.  If $10.00 wasn't bad enough for a cheeseburger basket, the CBJ felt that they had to raise the prices this year on multiple products.  Any free concession night during the year was easily made up for with these increases so I see this as no added benefit.   

3)  Promotions for single game events continues.  Please let me know how I am supposed to enjoy paying the prices I did for my seats to see people with as good or better seats with a free hat, hot dog, soda, popcorn and ice cream for the same price or less.   

4)  Service outside of yourself this season has been trying.  I felt like at times your staff at the arena were not adequately trained as I knew the Arena policies better than them and while these policies normally were not a big deal, let me give you two examples of how the lack to training impacts me.  1)  As you may remember on a Friday night game during the season I had 17 clients and their wives/girlfriends from one of the engineering firms that I call on at the game.  When I went to purchase drinks for those clients we had 17 IDs and I had my company credit card.  The server at the beer stand would only allow me to run 2 drinks per transaction.  I explained to him that it was two beers per ID and not per transaction and he refused to run the transactions on my card.  As we spoke that night he was wrong and was not properly trained.  While this may not seem like a big deal for most people the problem I have is that one round equated to 9 transactions on my expense account at work.  When I went to fill out my expense account those 9 transactions took me over 20 minutes to enter in lieu of the 2 minutes it normally takes.  If would of had to continue this throughout the night it would have taken me between 1-2 hours to fill out the expenses just for this one venue and one event when it normally takes about 10-15 minutes.  I can assure that someone that works on 100% commission is not happy to lose 1-1.5 hours of productivity due to a NWA training issue as that could equate to thousands of dollars of income for me.  2)  During the last game of the year my wife and I were able to enjoy our first CBJ game since our son was born just over 2 years ago.  While we had a great time, we had to leave early during the third period to get home to our son as the sitter had sent a text stating that he was starting to breakdown a bit.  On our way out of the North-East Rotunda we were informed by the security guard that we could not exit there and had to go to the main gate.  When I explained that we were not re-entering and started for the door he once again stated, more firmly this time, that he was not to let us exit through that door.  My wife and I then had about a five minute walk back to the main entrance to then retrace our steps back past the North-East exit that we originally tried to leave through.  While 5 minutes may not be much to you or me, please try explaining that to our 2 year old son at home.   

So that brings me to where I am today.  As a six year season ticket holder I have found it more frustrating than rewarding being a season ticket holder and that mainly has to do with the product on the ice.  During this time I have watched the St. Louis Blues go from the top of the hockey world to the bottom then back to the top again all the while Columbus has been near the bottom.  The old saying really rings true "Winning cures everything."  If the team was in the hunt for the playoffs and had a chance of winning one playoff game the high concession prices and the lack of training of the staff may be a little easier to take.  With Howson and Priest still running the show I have no confidence that they will be able to bring the results I desire and I leave you with this question:

Those positions are performance based positions just like my sales position is.  If I were to miss the sales figures that my company expects me to hit for 5 years and my numbers were not improving but in fact were trending down......would I still have my job?   

The answer is NO!  As a public company my shareholders do not accept failure or they pull their investment.  My superiors understand that and if someone is not performing they are let go and someone who will perform is brought in.  This is how it should be with the CBJ.  As a shareholder of the CBJ I am on the fence on whether or not to give the CBJ one more year of my investment of (4) full season tickets.  If I see that ownership is willing to make a change and fire Howson and Priest, I will renew the next day.  If not, then I am 50/50 on if I will renew.  Currently I am waiting to see how ownership responds.

Please let me know if you have any questions. 


We have no idea if letters such as this even reach the eyes of the decision makers in this organization which is a big reason why this advocacy group exists - to provide a voice/visibility for those frustrated with the direction of this franchise.  Will continue to do so until this franchise's honor is restored and maintained.

We would like to encourage all fans who have sent in letters to email them to  We will post them all in the way were sent to CBJ management.

For A New Start (F.A.N.S.)

PSL Holders' Letter To Columbus Blue Jackets

*NOTE-- this letter was written by a group of day 1 PSL holders and while we may not agree with everything that is said, F.A.N.S. is an advocacy group for fans to speak their mind and wish to be heard.

This is a letter that was recently sent to the Columbus Blue Jackets management by a group of PSL holders.  We were also made aware of it and given permission to post under the condition we remove the names:

To:        Columbus Blue Jackets
From:    Account #
Date:     4/13/2012
Re:        Cancelation of Season Tickets
This letter is to inform the Columbus Blue Jackets organization that we the members of Account # will NOT be renewing our season tickets.  The reason our group has reached this decisions is that we believe the Blue Jackets organization is an outright embarrassment to the NHL and Columbus. The GM and President must go!!!!!!  Neither of these two individuals have the slightest clue of how to build this organization into a winning franchise.  Since this organization refuses to listen to the fans, repeated calls for dismissal of the obviously incompetent GM and President, we have chosen to stop supporting this failure of an organization.  We have been season ticket holder since day one of this organization but we cannot tolerate this absolute failure of a so called “professional hockey team” any longer.  It is quite obvious that your organization treats the season ticket holders like fourth class citizens and takes for granted that we will continue to renew our tickets year after year.  Why should we do this when we can walk in off the street and for $25 get a ticket, $10 food and beverage voucher, hat, box of Timbits and a coffee. This is a far better deal than what we get for being there from the beginning.  We are tired of spending our hard earned money on a bunch of cry baby millionaires that can't put together 60 minutes of effort to win a hockey game. As a group we have stopped watching the Jackets on TV, and we boycotted most of this year’s games simply because we didn’t want to waste or time and money on a bunch of lazy millionaires who are comfortable losing game after game!  This team sucks so bad we couldn't even sell any of our tickets, and believe me we tried to sell as many as possible. Our group went from being a bunch of diehard fans to now wearing other team’s jerseys. In addition, the prices you charge for beer ($9) is absurd, none of us has bought a beer in the arena for the last 2 years.  We just can't see spending any more money on this pathetic team!  It is doubtful that any of us will go any games in the future, but if we do it will be to watch & support the visiting team, and maybe then we can capitalize on one of those sweet non season ticket holder deals.  Perhaps at the start of next season as your sitting in your empty arena, you will hopefully then realize what a mistake it was to take your fans for granted.  However, I doubt that this organization will give so much as a rat’s ass about this as you have sucked us dry of every dollar you possibly could.  Just a FYI on how Columbus fans feel about how absolutely pathetic you’re organization is, we were unable to sell our PSL via E-Bay or any other means, NOT EVEN FOR HALF PRICE and NOT EVEN FOR ONE THIRD PRICE. So we would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to this organization for stealing our $1500.  We would also like to inquire if you provide us with information on how we could start a racket like yours so that we might go about legally stealing $1500 from folks.  In addition, please remove our names from any and all mail listings (both electronic and old fashion snail mail), and or phone listings.

Here is some additional information that you may wish to pass along to other former CBJ fans.
      Uses for CBJ merchandise:

#1) Use CBJ jersey’s to wash dog after being sprayed by skunk as CBJ.

#2) Use CBJ t-shirt to wipe your backside after taking a crap in the woods.

#3) Please do not try and donate CBJ clothing/merchandise to places like Goodwill as they will not accept it.  These organizations only accept clothing in good useable condition that people would actually want to wear. These people may be poor and homeless but they do have some standards.

#4) Use your CBJ hat(s) to throw on the ice after visiting team scores a hat trick.

#5) CBJ flags make a great diaper for your baby.

#6) Autographed pucks make great furniture movers so you don't ruin your floors.

#7) Autographed hockey sticks are a great fire starter for your fireplace or campfire.

#8) Use the money you waste on “CBJ hockey” season tickets and take road trip to see 29 real hockey teams in their home arenas.

#9) Use CBJ trading cards to provide examples to your children how it’s ok to put forth only a 10% effort while being paid millions of dollars and fine it acceptable to settle for consistently losing.

#10) A CBJ scarf is great to hang yourself with, if you decide to stay a fan.

We have no idea if letters such as this even reach the eyes of the decision makers in this organization which is a big reason why this advocacy group exists - to provide a voice/visibility for those frustrated with the direction of this franchise.  Will continue to do so until this franchise's honor is restored and maintained.

We would like to encourage all fans who have sent in letters to email them to  We will post them all in the way were sent to CBJ management.

For A New Start (F.A.N.S.)

Thursday, April 12, 2012

"All They Really Want Is For That To Go Away..."

Via the Dispatch chat today:
Q: What was the reaction from management to the F.A.N.S. movement? Other than throwing out people with Anti Howson/Priest signs? Do they even care at this point or are the blinders on?

A: They're in a tough spot. They have to act like they care, and they have to act like they're listening. But all they really want is for that to go away.
Q: When would the window of opportunity/probability on firing Howson close... or has it already?

A: All signs as of today point to GM Scott Howson staying in his current role with the club. Could they make a move in the next week or two? Absolutely. But there's no indication that's being considered. To the contrary, it's hard to imagine ownership allowing Howson to oversee trade talks involving a player as significant at Rick Nash if you don't trust him to be your GM. I can't imagine they'd send Howson to Toronto for the draft lottery if he's not their guy. The way this has been sold to ownership -- best I can tell -- is that the arrival of senior adviser Craig Patrick has helped buttress the front office, that Howson needed a sounding board and a veteran, experienced voice to help consider significant moves. If Howson were going to be fired, you would most certainly expect it to have happened before now.

Q: I still don't understand how the people (Priest, Howson) that put this failed plan together are being trusted to now come up with a new plan. Would this work in any other hockey city?  Philly fans would probably be rioting by now.

12:26:45 Portzline: In pro sports, it's very unusual for a club to have such a high payroll -- it was fourth-highest in the league at one point early in the season -- and such a low spot in the standings. That's a toxic mix, especially for a market the size of Columbus. They believe the hiring of Patrick as senior adviser has changed the dynamic in the front office. We shall see. It's possible that with two non-hockey lifers at the top of the organization -- majority owner John P. McConnell and President Mike Priest -- that they simply don't know where to turn, or who out there could be trusted to turn it around. I had breakfast with three very smart hockey people this morning, guys in the business. There thought was that a very impressive hockey guy like Ron Hextall or Ron Francis should be brought in, allowed to hire his own people, given autonomy on big decisions and let them grow the franchise.
Message to ownership - we aren't going anywhere until accountability, pride and honor are restored and maintained to this franchise.  It's up to you.

For A New Start (F.A.N.S.)

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Columbus Blue Jackets Were The Least Efficient Of The 30 Teams With Just 1.06 points Per $1 Million Spent

From the Calgary Herald:
"The Stanley Cup playoffs begin this week to sort out the league's best team, but according to a Bank of Montreal report released Tuesday, the Nashville Predators are the "Hockey Cents" champions of 2011-12.

The Predators were tops for being able to earn 2.02 points for every $1 million (all figures in U.S. dollars) in player salaries applicable to the league's salary cap.

The last-place but highly paid Columbus Blue Jackets were the least efficient of the 30 teams with just 1.06 points per $1 million spent."
The next closest was the Edmonton Oilers at 1.22 points per $1 million spent.

You can find the enitre list here.

For A New Start (F.A.N.S.)

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Up Close And Personal

Meet Wayne Morroni.  Wayne is a day 1 season ticket/psl holder in the lower bowl Time Warner Lounge area.  Wayne has had enough and will not be renewing after this season.

Meet Frank and Vicky Dengg.  Frank and Vicky are also day 1 season ticket/psl holders.  They sit in the upper bowl first row.  Frank and Vicky have had enough and will not be renewing their season tickets after this season.

Meet Chris Burke.  Chris is a season ticket/psl holder who has had enough and will not be renewing his season tickets after this season.  NOTE: Nationwide Arena "Factory of Sadness" T-shirt.

These two gentlemen may not appear at first glance to be CBJ fans, but they are.  Or should we say "were".

Now look at what these two gentlemen were wearing underneath their Boston Bruins jerseys.

As they explained to us, they have had enough to the point they are moving on to another team entirely.  Their plan after the game against the Islanders concluded, was to remove their CBJ shirts under their jerseys and either A. toss on the ice if they were close enough or B. leave them in their seats.

These are just a sample of real stories shared to us up close and personal in the plaza in front of Nationwide Arena on Saturday from fans that have been here from the beginning.  Folks who have spent thousands of dollars and thousands of hours supporting this team.  These are fans a franchise cannot afford to lose. These are fans who have finally said enough is enough.  These are fans whom, after 11 seasons, have reached their breaking points.

We would love to share more stories from fans who have also said enough.  Just shoot us an email with your story at and we will make sure your story is heard.

Finally, a special thanks to all the folks who stopped by yesterday (and every game since this advocacy group began) for sharing their stories, signing the petition, displaying/making signs and wearing neon green t-shirts.  This group was created for you, the fans of the Columbus Blue Jackets, and the participation has been nothing short of remarkable.  Also a special thanks to Beau for donating 4 tickets to volunteers for last night's game.

We are in the process of tallying up the petition signatures and will we be sending those to the Columbus Blue Jackets organization ATTN: OWNERSHIP.  We will keep you updated as we continue on our mission to restore and maintain this franchise's honor.

For A New Start (F.A.N.S.)

Friday, April 6, 2012

End of an Era--What Comes Next?

Saturday's season finale against the Islanders promises to be the end of an era.  The chances are high  Saturday will be Rick Nash's last game as a Columbus Blue Jacket.  Whether the Captain makes an appearance is now in doubt.  One of the team's "learning men," GM Scott Howson, announced today that a back injury suffered by Nash might keep him out of the season finale. 

What remains to be seen is whether Saturday will also mark Scott Howson's last game as GM of the franchise.  Since his ill-conceived press conference announcing that Nash had requested a trade, Scott Howson has been doing his best impersonation of the Invisible Man.  One would have thought he was off in Hollywood shooting a big screen version of the hit TV show Frasier as little as Howson has been around lately.  Howson's bosses have also been tight lipped.  Team president Mike Priest has restrained himself from declaring that "Howson hockey is Blue Jackets hockey!"

But soon enough it will be abundantly clear whether change is coming or whether we should just hit snooze on Sunday if we hear Sonny and Cher on our alarm clocks.  Under the stewardship of the current management team they spent a record amount on player salaries to end up dead last in the league by a country mile.  And while we are thankful to have the All Star Game, it is bittersweet when there is a good chance that the Jackets will have no player representing them in the game as the guy who was most likely to do so was so unimpressed with the "plan" the management team set out in January that he immediately asked that they "consider" trading him in the best interest of his career.

Saturday marks our last opportunity this year as fans to make a statement with regards to what we think needs to be done to get this team moving in the right direction.  Let's go out there and make a loud statement in one voice.  Do so in a respectful manner, but be direct.  We'll again be asking for signatures on the petition to have Howson and Priest removed from their posts before and after the game.  We'll have 200 pre-printed signs and another 200 poster boards for you to write your own messages to ownership and management.  Come join us this one last time this season and help us send a message to ownership that we love the team, but hate the direction.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Columbus Plans To Take Back Team With F.A.N.S.

A nice article here on F.A.N.S. from a blog called

*NOTE--the opinions of Puck Drunk Love are solely their's and, in particular, we view F.A.N.S. as fighting a war for the team, not a war on the team.

"A revolution has begun! The fans of the Columbus Blue Jackets have declared war on the team. And with the team recently agreeing to stay in the city until 2039, now is the perfect time for the fans to defend their ground.
A new advocacy group in the city Columbus was formed in early March to bring a winning hockey club to the city. Simply named "CBJ F.A.N.S.", their goal is to restore and maintain the franchise's honor. CBJ F.A.N.S. (For A New Start), have begun to travel the long road in hopes of not being the butt of every NHL joke."
Read much more here!
For A New Start (F.A.N.S.)