Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A modest suggestion: "Thank You."

As I wrote this (technical issues at Blogger delayed the post), the Columbus Blue Jackets were scoreless against the Anaheim Ducks in front of an announced attendance of 9,802 at Nationwide Arena - one of the lowest attendance figures in CBJ team history.  Sure, it's a Wednesday night...but it's the fifth game of the season and one wouldn't think that the fans have given up on the CBJ so early.  Of course, a 5-2 blowout loss in the home opener - the score was much better than the on-ice performance by the Blue Jackets - did nothing to help the situation.

So here we are - the 10th anniversary season, and the team of the hour is playing to a lot of blue seats.  What to do?

Funny you should ask, for I would like to offer a suggestion.

By "thank you," I mean a live, personal thank you by a Columbus Blue Jackets player at the conclusion of every game.

It would work like this: After the three stars are announced, a Blue Jackets player will be given a microphone.  He goes out to center ice and simply thanks the fans on the team's behalf for coming out.  They might celebrate the win with the fans or offer consolation after a loss, but they ALWAYS say, "Thank you."

Win or lose, the thank you should be a tradition for the Columbus Blue Jackets.  Just like the cannon and shouting "Leo!" before the national anthem.

Why do I suggest this?  The reason is twofold.

First, those people who bought tickets and stayed to the end should be thanked.  When the chips are down - and it sure seems like they are from an attendance point of view - you need to find new and unique ways to offer appreciation to the people who are keeping the train rolling.  Giveaways are nice, as are discounted/free tickets, but the simple act of a "Thank you" means much more than one would think.  No other team in professional sports that I know of does this.  What a statement it would be!

In addition, I sense a feeling that the players want to show appreciation to the fans for their support.  This would help accomplish that goal, and it also would help those who don't have the appreciation for the fans' importance to the fortunes of the team.

A "thank you" would be a great chance to let a star of the game whoop it up with the fans after a win.  Perhaps the man of the hour brings some buddies out with him, and imagine a couple CBJ'ers leading some cheers after an exciting victory.  Talk about chills and special moments that both fans and team would remember!

At the same time, it also would be good for the team to face the music when they lose.  Perhaps, with the knowledge that you or your teammate has to go out and talk to fans after a loss, the team might try that much harder to avoid losses in front of the fans who are helping pay their paychecks.  Accountability in the face of adversity stiffens resolve, don't you think?

I'm not asking for the team to deliver the Gettysburg Address at center ice.  I'm asking for a "Thank you."

Every game.

And it doesn't cost a thing.

What do you think?


  1. ....I really, really like it.

    Someone ought to make sure that, say, Todd Sharrock or Scott Arniel sees this.

  2. I'm definitely a fan of this idea!

  3. I condone this idea. to the max. for the win, etc., etc.

  4. Remember Naslund in Vancouver after the final game of the season, "We choked tonight, but we'll do better in the playoffs." That was cool. But every game? Might work. Might get stale fast.

    But very original idea. Props.

  5. I agree 100%!!! This may be the only interaction most fans have with the players. It would be greatfir fans and kids to hear their favorite player cone out and say, "We appreciate you guts coming out tonight. Thanks!"

  6. Horrible. Horrible. Horrible idea. Want them to wipe after you go potty too?

    Bottom line, this team doesn't need to coddle fans after every home game and assure them everything will be alright. They don't need new games or music or blimps or giveaways or gimmicks...


  7. Not to mention, if you hang out at Nationwide to the bitter end, Mr. MAC already does this.

  8. Hey Anonymous,

    Let's agree to disagree on this one. I agree that winning sure beats gimmicks, but a heartfelt thanks from a player can't be considered a gimmick in the same vein as Dance Dance Revolution or flying blimp giveaways.

    Also, I thought I emphasized that these are unique times with ticket sales hemorrhaging regardless of the play on the ice. It would be great to think inside the safe little box of standard pro sports conventions, but that isn't working right now. Gotta think differently. Gotta consider doing things differently.

    So what's your suggestion? I've got one or two more, and I'll post 'em as time goes on.

  9. Thanking fans for coming would make the CBJ the laughing stock of the NHL, if they aren't already. Every engaged fan of this franchise desperately wants what every other franchise has: history, tradition, rivalries, etc. We have none of those things... None.

    At least not yet. It sucks that the CBJ have been so mediocre for this long. And it's sad that Columbus just doesn't embrace hope like other cities do (ask a Browns or Indians fan). For christ's sake, there are other teams who have had similar dry spells, so we've got company at our pity party.

    Bottom line:

    Winning is the only thing that will stop the bleeding.

    And postseason success will do for a "thanks".

  10. Not a fan of this idea AT ALL. Sounds desperate, "cow-townish" and frankly a little humniliating for the player. Plus... if it has to be suggested, how geniune and heartfelt can it be?

    The players are genuinely great and gracious to the fans and this city, giving of their time and money in ways seen and unseen.

    In addition, in virtually EVERY interview I have seen with Nash this year, even post game blurbs, he mentions how important it is to him that they WIN for the city and the fans. I hear him, I believe him, I get it.

    Why not also make them write "I will not take a stupid penalty" 1000 times in the blackboard every time they are in the sin bin?

    Zeesh. Make the CBJ the laughingstock of the NHL. As if it isn't bad enough already.


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