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A City Without a Jacket

Greetings readers,

If you’ve been following the Columbus Blue Jackets this year, you would know that this year is one to forget. Yes, the Jackets did record some solid wins over the Detroit Red Wings (for the first win of the season, after starting 0-7-1) and the Winnipeg Jets, but the rest of the year has been a bummer.

As of January 22nd, the Blue Jackets are last in the National Hockey League with 13 wins and 32 points, six points behind the Edmonton Oilers who have 38 points. Columbus is coming off a 3-2 shootout loss at Detroit, who leads the NHL with 65 points and a 32-15-1 record.

The next home game for Columbus is February 7th against the Minnesota Wild. The game I’m going to next is two days after, when the Dallas Stars come to town (There’s a Career Fair that day, too.)

So you might wonder why this post exists. Is it to bash on the Blue Jackets? No. Is it to hammer in the fact that the Jackets are not doing well this year when expectations were high? No. The point is, we Ohioans are lucky to have the Blue Jackets.

What if we lose them, though?

If you look at comments from other users, say ESPN, on the article about Scott Arniel’s firing, you’ll see some comments saying “Move them to Quebec City or Hamilton (Canada, not Ohio)!!” That could happen, you know.

These rumors have been swirling around the Phoenix Coyotes for the longest time, and could very well happen soon if a buyer decides to fork the cash over. Same thing can happen to the Jackets.

You could argue with anyone saying that Columbus could be a better hockey market than Phoenix, that the Coyotes have had longer time to become successful (1996 compared to 2000, or 1997 if you want to include the year the NHL gave Columbus the team), and every positive point for the Jackets. However, the buyer won’t care about those if there’s an opportunity to purchase, relocate, and profit.

What would the loss of the hockey team do to Columbus? Well, you have loss of jobs for one. People who work in the arena would see hours slashed, jobs cut, and what would be the point of the FSN Ohio Blue Line stores in the arena and Tuttle Crossing Mall when there’s no hockey team? Second, the Arena District would take a hit. Less people buying means less profits.

I know what you’re thinking: “There’s Ohio State!” Okay, but that’s a bit north of Nationwide. Sure, the Buckeyes could play a lot more in Nationwide Arena, but where does that leave The Schott? More importantly, what if someone doesn’t like Ohio State or college sports in general? How do you attract the fan then?

There’s also the Columbus Crew, but that’s also far north from the Arena District and during the months where the Blue Jackets don’t play.

While you could try bringing professional basketball back to Columbus, there’s no guarantees that will plug the loss of the Blue Jackets to the city. Would it be a repeat of the Columbus Horizon? Also, would Nationwide be too big for a new basketball team?

Argue all you want, but losing the Blue Jackets would hurt Columbus. So, embrace that you still have a hockey team, even though it’s been a tough ride for the Jackets.

Stats from ESPN, recorded on January 22nd, 2012.

Until next time,

-Lee

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