FanFest will feature over 20 players in attendance signing autographs and interacting with fans, open skating and other on-ice activities, question &amp; answer panels, street hockey, kids' activities, food and drink specials, music and more. Players scheduled to appear include Rick Nash and newly acquired players Jeff Carter and James Wisniewski.
The event will also offer fans the first chance to buy 2011-12 single game tickets available exclusively at the event...A few thoughts on what I've seen/read:
1) The idea of giving fans all these incentives to come down and get excited about the upcoming season right on the cusp of training camp is a fantastic marketing move. It's philosophically right in line with what we've been doing at CannonFest for the past two years.
2) The ability to get single game tickets at Fan Fest before the masses get them online is even better. You want to stop a Pittsburgh Penguins-style "takeover" of the arena? (Keeping in mind that the Pens don't play in C'bus this year, granted...) Get down to FanFest and get your tickets. Remember, Buffalo comes to town on November 25!
3) A well-meaning Twitter follower suggested that the CBJ might be copying the CannonFest template - as if that was a bad thing. With no slight to the fine gent intended, I'll suggest that IF the Blue Jackets did follow the CannonFest lead and move their (largely) annual fan gathering to the days leading up to training camp, they were darned smart. As a Blue Jackets fan first and foremost, I salute them and hope that the arena is flooded with fans who get tons of autographs and buy lots of tickets.
Let me take point #3 further: Had the Blue Jackets done this "FanFest" concept last season and then again this year, you probably would not have seen a CannonFest - or at least me being involved in one. This event looks like it will give the fans the ultimate pre-season fix, much like we have tried to nudge toward with CannonFest. Difference is, the CBJ have the infrastructure of Nationwide Arena and the manpower of the roster at their disposal. I just can't believe it's taken them this long to put something like this together and time it as they have. It has the potential to be really, really cool.
I'm 110 percent behind FanFest - hoping you are as well - and will be there with the Dark Blue Toddler if at all possible. He's got a little third jersey that's screaming out for 20 signatures with a silver sharpie...