Over the past two decades, since the Blue Jackets made their debut and brought the highest level of pro hockey to Columbus in October 2000, the team's fans have time and again proved their dedication to CBJ hockey.
So during the month of June, we decided to turn over BlueJackets.com to the 5th Line. Each week, we'll ask a question of Blue Jackets fans and compile responses here in a story to run each Friday. It's a chance for the team diehards to show their passion as we all wait for hockey's return.
This week's topic -- What is your favorite game or moment as a Blue Jackets fan?
Some answers below are edited for space and grammar, but otherwise, the voice of the fan comes through.
What is your favorite CBJ game or moment?
Tim Rankin: Game 1 of CBJ vs. Tampa Bay last year. Not just the win that propelled CBJ to its first series playoff win, but how it unfolded.
Down 3-0 after the first period and Tampa Bay coming out to a power play, my friend and I were saying "if Bob can hang tough for rest of PP and CBJ gets a goal, who knows what could happen."
And then we saw ...
Bob make the save.
The Captain with goal one to break the ice.
Savy's Bread-like move on Hedman and goal.
Josh's man-down move and goal.
Jackets win! Jackets win!
We were pumped and savored every bit of the remaining wins and sweep.
Jack Grote: My parents went to both home games that of the Tampa Bay series and said after Game 4 it was absolutely electric.
But I was lucky enough to go to Game 3 and after the buzzer sounded the crowd stood and cheered and that was the first time I was actually moved to tears of joy for a sporting event. Just sheer euphoria after years of pain.
David Nakoneczny: My favorite is by far November 2, 2019, vs. Calgary.
Yes, CBJ lost 3-0 on the second night of a back-to-back but that night, with a fair amount of help from the staff at Nationwide, I proposed to my now fiancé. There was no other place I would have rather done it.
Dianne Williams: I've had so many CBJ fan experiences. But I have to say the one that means the most to me is the amount of time I got to spend with my son going to Blue Jackets games and season ticket holder events. I separated from my son's father in the summer of 2014. We were half season ticket holders, so my son and I went to all the games together. It was our bonding time. We were able to talk hockey together and for a mom and her 14-year-old son it was invaluable. My son is now in college out of state and we still manage to go to as many games as we can.
Alexander Hoy: My favorite CBJ moment would have to be either Game 4 last year when we swept the Bolts, or the 2014 Game 4 OT winner vs the Pens. My dad and I were there for both games, and if I had to list one over the other, I would put the 2019 Game 4 first -- simply because it was history. My dad and I both cried, everyone was hugging each other. It was truly special.
Matthew Maher: I would have to say my favorite moment would be my first CBJ game, the Nov. 18 game against the Rangers in 2016. Being there and being able to see the arena during an NHL game for the first time was amazing. I went with my dad and I remember going into the team shop and him buying me a 5th Line puck. That's when I felt like I was truly part of this fan base. Hearing the cannon for the first time was surreal. I didn't think it was going to be that loud!
While all of that was great I think the best part was Matt Calvert! Seeing him take that puck to the face was frightening but seeing him get up and skate off showed me just how tough NHLers are, and then seeing him not only come back to the bench but actually go out there and play and then score the game winner -- it was just wow.
From the puck to the cannon to Matt freaking Calvert I would say that that single game is what truly made me the hardcore fan I am today and why I wanted to get all of my friends into Jackets hockey later on (that and the 16-game winning streak).
Duane Bent: My favorite moment, because I was there, was Game 4 of the 2014 Eastern Conference quarterfinals. I was seated at the very front row of 222 and I almost flew over the glass ledge when Foligno buried the game-winning goal. NWA has never been louder. You could not hear the cannon blasts. I also think that lost in the whole thing with the Dubinsky and Foligno goals is that the Jackets were down 3-0 only 12 minutes into the game. Something about this team and those early 3-0 deficits.
Lawrence Minton: Living overseas in the UK it's tough to follow every game live. But for me it has to be staying up till roughly 3.30 a.m. watching the Jackets beat the Penguins 4-3 in the 2014 playoffs. Foligno netting the winner in OT -- I almost woke my whole family up that night!
Kyle Yant: I've been lucky enough to attend almost every Blue Jackets home playoff game. Like they always say, playoff hockey is different. The atmosphere is the building has always been amazing. The best moment for me though was Game 3 vs. Tampa. I was lucky to have glass seats and I can't tell you how loud that arena got. I still have video from it and I still get goosebumps. Jackets games are amazing and I can't wait to see more moments in the future!
Jeffrey Tanner: I have plenty of favorite CBJ moments, most of which come from watching at home, such as the empty net goal that sealed the sweep, the win against Montreal to put us back into a playoff spot in the 2018-19 season, CLINCHING a playoff spot against the Rangers, Anthony Duclair's incredible goal, various comeback wins in the regular season and many more.
However, the moment that will forever be the biggest for me as a member of the 5th Line will always be the day that I attended my very first Blue Jackets game at Nationwide Arena on Feb. 28, 2019, where the Blue Jackets defeated the Flyers 4-3 in overtime
I lost my mind, I was so excited and happy. All because I knew that this was the moment where I became a lifelong Blue Jackets fan. I was a huge fan since 2018 prior to this but this moment solidified the Blue Jackets as my No. 1 team across all sports.
Eric Albright: I was trying to do some research but couldn't come up with a solid date on the first one. My most memorable game was one of the first I took my now-wife to when we were dating at Nationwide Arena against Philadelphia and the whole time it looked like it was going to be a blowout. We left our seats just down from the FSO press box early to beat the crowd out. We were in one of the stairwells when we heard what sounded like the cannon. We stopped on one of the other levels (I want to say the club level) to catch a TV. We waited for a few more minutes and sure enough another goal was scored. We rushed back up the stairs to our seats to watch CBJ win in OT (or maybe a shootout, I can't remember that part). We started dating in June 2014, so the game was 2014-15 or later. It was against Philly and Steve Mason was in net.
The other option for sure was seeing Elvis get his first win against none other than Florida and Bobrovsky. We sat just below (what looked like) Aaron Portzline and Alison Lukan just down from the "We are the 5th line" letters. I wore my signed Bob Jersey for that night and it couldn't have been more remarkable. Exactly how you'd hope that night would go: Elvis steps up in the face of Korpi's injury, takes out his predecessor, and has a way better hug with Nick than Bob did.
We also got to witness Panarin's return to Nationwide Arena by dumb luck (someone nice handed us tickets when we were walking by NWA). We don't live within walking distance of anything in Franklin County, so it was pure dumb luck that we would be at the right place at the right time and this gentleman would have something come up at the last second. We must have been the first couple he saw walking up the street when he found out? Don't remember much of the game other than booing Panarin all game except for that one-minute pause where he got cheers!
Lucas Lightle: It's obviously difficult to not say beating the Lightning in the playoffs. Other than that, my father and I were at the game that Matt Calvert was injured against the Rangers. I'll never forget him coming back to the bench looking like an actual Civil War soldier with the head bandages. I still get goosebumps thinking about how he went on to score the game winner that night.
Ken Holton: Gotta throw out the fight between Jared Boll and Jody Shelley right after he went to San Jose. I still remember the roar of the crowd that night!!!
Chase Collier: Two days after losing Joonas Korpisalo to injury in a shootout loss to Chicago this year, Zach Werenski gets a hat trick in Sergei Bobrovsky's return to Columbus.
Harley Ryckman: It has to be the Round 1, Game 4 vs the Tampa Bay Lightning. I absolutely loved that game. It was some of the best hockey I ever watched.
Anita Queen: Final game in the first round of the playoffs against Tampa Bay and we WON.