“This is a tremendous opportunity for our city.”
As Blue Jackets president of hockey operations John Davidson spoke to a gathering of VIPs at Columbus’ Hollywood Casino, the message was about pride in both the city and the accomplishments of the players representing the organization.
Not only are the Blue Jackets hosting the 2015 NHL All-Star celebration, but for the first time in franchise history, they will have multiple players participating in the game itself. The NHL made it official on Jan. 10, naming Ryan Johansen, Nick Foligno and Sergei Bobrovsky to the All-Star roster – marking the first career selections for all three players.
During a special event at Hollywood Casino for sponsors, premium seating clients as well as Lexus glass and Time Warner Cable HD Lounge full season ticket holders, Davidson and the three Jackets All-Stars mingled with special guests during a cocktail hour, participated in a light-hearted Q-and-A with broadcasters Jeff Rimer and Jody Shelley, and hung around after the formal session to sign autographs and talk hockey.
The evening’s theme was “a night with our stars,” celebrating the All-Star selections for the three Blue Jackets players but the event also provided the VIPs an inside look at some of the forthcoming events surrounding NHL All-Star Weekend in Columbus.
Larry Hoepfner, Blue Jackets executive vice president of business operations, opened the program alongside Davidson and outlined both what NHL All-Star Weekend means to Columbus but also how Blue Jackets fans can take part – even if they don’t have a ticket to the game.
The Huntington Snow Slide, the Scotts Miracle-Gro Community Rink, the Dispatch Media Group Hockey House featuring concessions and live music all weekend…these are just a sampling of the fun going on at All-Star Winter Park presented by Worthington Industries.
Hoepfner said that when the organization began planning for the 2015 All-Star celebration, their goal was to make it the best in NHL history, and the organization is confident that it’s on track to do just that.
And for the Blue Jackets All-Stars, the opportunity to represent their home city during such an exciting weekend is one they’ll never forget and one they feel is a justified reward for the passionate hockey fans of central Ohio.
“I’m really enjoying just being able to represent our organization at home here in Columbus, and with the two guys I’m with in Johansen and Bobrovsky,” Foligno said. “We’re really just going to enjoy the moment.
“It humbles you when people come up to you, congratulate you and tell you how proud they are. It makes you feel really good, like you’re doing something for the city and for the fans. You want to make them proud. It was really fun to rub elbows with them (at the casino event). We’re really excited to represent them and the Blue Jackets at the All-Star Game.”