It’s nice to finally be able to talk about a positive story coming out of Columbus. While the Blue Jackets haven’t rewarded their fans with their play on the ice this season, the organization is doing its best to put a positive spin on a rocky situation.
When a player is traded off of your team, suddenly you might be left with a sweater/jersey that is obsolete and almost unwearable as it honors a player on a different squad. This happened to countless fans in Columbus after the Blue Jackets dealt Jeff Carter to the Los Angeles Kings. However, Columbus decided to help some of their fans out by offering an opportunity to replace their old Carter jersey nameplate to a nameplate that read Johnson, in honor of the recently acquired Jack Johnson. The change works well as it not only eliminates a name that’s no longer on the team but also because Johnson took over Carter’s #7 upon arriving in Columbus.
Wouldn’t it be nice if every club did this?
For fans, picking out a hockey sweater isn’t easy. Should I opt for the home, away or alternate jersey? Should I get a retired player of old or should I go for the current star that may not be with the team in a year or two?
Often, trades and free agency leave many fans with jerseys that they simply can’t wear without representing an opponent, or in some cases, a rival. This leads fans to go out and buy new sweaters, ones that either don’t name any player on the back or ones that represent a new player brought into the mix. It’s all part of the sport and a known risk you take when buying a sweater with a player’s name on the back.
In Columbus, faithful Blue Jackets fans have been beaten and battered all season long. On the ice, the Blue Jackets were never really in the playoff hunt and have spent the bulk of the season going through the motions rather than competing. Off the ice, the Blue Jackets have had to deal with countless rumors surrounding nearly every player on the squad, most particularly Rick Nash. Though Nash ultimately remained in Columbus, fans were left with a sour feeling after GM Scott Howson placed the blame squarely on Nash, resulting in what should be an awkward remainder of 2011-12 and a summer that should see the captain leave town – perhaps with Howson being shown the exit with him.
Realistically, helping fans make their sweaters relevant again was the least the club could do after putting their fans through one of the worst seasons in recent memory. However, it was a gesture that Columbus didn’t have to do and is one that other teams in similar situations haven’t offered. Congratulations to Columbus for making a brilliant PR move out of a trade that represents the tough year the Blue Jackets have endured. Here’s to hoping that more positive stories will emerge out of Columbus in the near future. It’s safe to say the fans deserve it.