A new #CBJ social media campaign started yesterday asking fans to “Defend Nationwide Arena”. It’s no secret that Columbus’ location, in close proximity to places like Nashville, Pittsburgh, Detroit and Chicago combined with the number of fans of those teams who have lived here since before the Blue Jackets existed make it a prime target for fans of away teams looking to make a road trip to see a game.
Players as well as fans have taken notice.
When Marc Methot was interviewed by professional troll and pseudo-journalist, Bruce Garrioch, for the Ottawa Sun he had this to say about the atmosphere in Nationwide Arena at times:
““I’m not going to sugarcoat it: I have the utmost respect for the fans there,” said Methot. “It’s just sometimes during the week we wouldn’t get a packed house and we’d be playing a team like Chicago or Detroit and it sounded like half the building were from those markets or were fans of the other team. We were losing a lot of games, people weren’t happy and it wasn’t a great atmosphere.”
I don’t fault Marc for his comments. He’s completely accurate. He also admits that the on-ice performance was directly to blame for the lack of interest so kudos to him for taking his share of the blame.
In what was probably the most notable “opposing fan invasion” in team history was the night the Penguins came to town and packed the arena with black and gold. In one of the more embarrassing moments, a Penguins fan was given the opportunity to ride the Zamboni between periods. PensBlog had little sympathy for Blue Jackets fans after that game.
This takeover, as I understand it, was due to a mistake by the CBJ organization, sending out an email to season ticket holders allowing them the opportunity to purchase single game tickets in advance of the public sale. Unfortunately they did not send out unique codes or require any sort of identification. Penguins blogs and forums got ahold of the code and sold out the game before non-STH Columbus fans were even able to buy the tickets. Dark Blue Jacket posted a good summary of the events back in December, 2010. Greg Wyshynski had some not-so-nice things to say regarding the Nationwide Arena policy changes that resulted from the Penguins game.
With all that said, guess who comes back to town November 2nd this season? The Penguins… Don’t let them take over our house again.
So, why should you care about “Defending NWA”?? I’ll let Wiz answer that:
I wrote about similar statements from Wiz back in June and how they have given me hope for the 2012-13 season.
Now I’m begging you, one fan to another, help me defend Nationwide Arena. Don’t let another fan invasion like the one in Penguins in 2010 or the Blackhawks in 2012 happen this season. If you’d like to help spread the word, the team has provided images you can use to update your twitter avatar, Facebook profile pages and Facebook banner images. Help spread the word. This is our house. Lets make it one of the toughest in the league for other teams to play in.