Tuesday, January 29, 2013

One Year Later

On January 28, 2012, approximately 300 Columbus Blue Jackets fans gathered on a cold day in front of Nationwide Arena though no game was scheduled.  They gathered on that wintry afternoon to express their love for their team...and their frustration with its direction.  More shocking, the whole thing had come together in less than a week with initial effort from fans of the team who congregated on the Hockey's Future message board.

A year later, and quite a bit has changed.  Rick Nash--gone.  Mike Priest?  "Promoted" where he'd no longer provide input on hockey decisions after his crowning achievement, Jeff Carter, was traded less than twelve months after his acquisition.  The roster which finished last in the NHL for the first time in franchise history?  Largely overhauled.  Even Scott Howson now finds his authority diminished after the hiring of John Davidson.  

Did that one moment on January 28, 2012 cause all of these things?  No. But that afternoon you showed the hockey world that, despite the critics who pointed to decreased ticket sales as a sign that Columbus was another "non-traditional market" failure, there was a passionate and devoted fan base yearning for a winner to cheer for and who demanded accountability from those in charge.

Hopefully the next time we all get together in front of Nationwide is on a warm summer day some June and the Cup we hoist that day is full size.