While the move the eastern conference helps the struggling team to establish local rivalries and eliminate some of those pesky 10pm start times, the league essentially gift wrapped three more home games for the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The decision was announced by majority owner John P. McConnell. McConnell cited a number of factors in choosing to go this route.
"Our original thought was to limit ticket sales only to those folks who are residents of the State of Ohio," McConnell said. "This is assuming that only Ohioians are Blue Jackets fans and all squares are rectangles. Sorry Covington, KY - your time will come. Then, thanks to a little sleuthing by the Jumbo-tron intern Steve Galazkiewicz, the ownership group realized why a city like Canton, OH has no NHL broadcast rights to the Blue Jackets. That’s because eight counties in Ohio belong to the broadcast exclusivity of the Pittsburgh Penguins. That means there are Penguins fans in Ohio!"
"It's been three years now, but the debacle of 2010 is etched in the collective memory of my hockey club." McConnell continued. "My arena - well, not my arena any more, but it might as well be - was overrun by Pittsburgh fans. It might as well have been a Penguins home game. There was even a Penguins fan riding the zamboni around the arena, for pete's sake. What’s next? Primanti Brothers being served in the #CBJ Social Station?"
"I'm all for good, fair commerce, but that was perhaps the most unpleasant experience of my time owning this franchise. There's no way that I'll allow my team and my community to suffer the indignity of what we saw three years ago. We can’t submit our small core of loyal fans to any humility in social media, essentially paving the way to troll yourself, the classic #OwnTroll. To spare further indignity, we also are considering a Wertz-ian era Blackhawk tactic of blacking-out the game on television, radio and rogue media outlets such as the DKM Hockey Podcast."
"I'd rather just take the financial loss on the games and move on," McConnell concluded. "Columbus deserves better. I can’t allow the only time ESPN actually mentions hockey to be because the Penguins played three additional home games in Nationwide Arena."
Other attempts at limiting or screening ticket sales to these games were considered. Of the idea’s vetted:
- People purchasing tickets would first have to post derogatory comments about Sidney Crosby, the 91-92 Penguins, and admit that the Flyers have a better goalie on their facebook page and twitter profile for 48 hours before being able to buy a ticket.
- Ushers have been advised that mouth-breathing would be treated as a removable offense in Nationwide Arena during Penguins games and Pittsburgh Steelers fatheads would be placed inside all urinals and toilet bowls in the arena.
- The concessions stands for these three home games would only consist of a “all you can eat” salad bar.
|As bad as it will likely look in Nationwide Arena,|
it can't get as bad as Phoenix
In a heartfelt "thank you" to the loyal fans who already bought tickets to those games, all ticket holders will be invited during and/or after each game to have their photograph taken with celebrity Blue Jackets of yesterday and today. The schedule is as follows:
- November 2, 2013 - Individual photos for each attendee with goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky and his Vezina Trophy. All attendees to this game will receive life-sized replica Vezina Trophies of their own, courtesy of Ohio Mulch.
- December 29, 2013 - CBJ Fan Ambassador Jody Shelley will be taking photos and exchanging blows with fans all night long in Stinger's Clubhouse, brought to you by OhioHealth Sports Medicine (who will have medical staff on hand to assist fans with any injuries Shelley may inflict).
- March 28, 2014 - It's a "Turn Back the Clock Night" event, where former Blue Jacket Mike Commodore will return to Columbus and welcome fans to stretch out on the Kittles Furniture Posturpedic and receive a once-in-a-lifetime shower of dollar bills with the cameras clicking away.
Obviously, this is a satire. If you’re not named Mike Commodore and find offense with this post, you need to reevaluate your priorities.
This also is a bit of a cautionary tale, for the best humor is wrapped in fact. The undeniable fact is that the whole “Defend NWA” marketing campaign was created not just to spur single-game ticket sales but to serve as a not-so-subtle reminder that opposing teams’ fans can and have taken over our beloved barn. It is not fun when that happens. The players don’t like it, the fans don’t like it and the ownership probably doesn’t like it either.
If the idea of “protecting your house” means anything to you, it’s incumbent upon you to buy tickets for Blue Jackets home games. Ticket packages, single game tickets...we don’t care. Just buy the tickets. Deny the opposing fans a chance to ruin your night. And you might even enjoy the game, because the hockey is finally getting good in Columbus.