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by Jack Lyttle / Columbus Blue Jackets

Amidst a sea of Notre Dame gold and Irish green, Sam Gans was hard to miss. He was displaying the colors of his hometown team – the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Gans, a Columbus native and student at Notre Dame, was among the thousands gathered on an October Saturday near Touchdown Jesus and the venerable Notre Dame Stadium.

ESPN’s “College GameDay,” the weekly on-site showcase of the biggest games in college football, had come to South Bend. As his fellow students showed their support for the Fighting Irish, Gans got some airtime for his other favorite team, flashing a “Carry the Flag” sign for all to see.

The moment created all kinds of buzz among Blue Jackets fans, and it was the talk of the community – both inside and outside of Nationwide Arena.

We posted a photo of Sam and his “Carry the Flag” sign on our social media channels, and we were soon flooded with positive responses from our fans. The overwhelming fan response prompted us to track down the man responsible for that national TV moment.

Sam was kind enough to share with us the inspiration behind his now-famous sign and give us some insight about his lifelong passion for the Blue Jackets.

CBJ: Tell us about your “Carry the Flag” sign:

SG: I'm really obnoxious with my friends about the Blue Jackets, and I often say the old CBJ slogan "Carry the Flag." As a huge Irish and college football fan who has watched GameDay going back to his Buckeye-loving days as a kid, I knew I had to camp out and make a sign for potentially their only visit to ND during my time here. I couldn't really think of something very creative, so I figured I might as well show my CBJ love, along with a little bit of an inside joke with my friends. Overall, it was awesome to have a sign represent the CBJ on a highly-viewed national program. 

Notre Dame student and CBJ fan Sam Gans (pictured) got his CBJ sign on College GameDay.

CBJ: How long have you been a Blue Jackets fan?

SG: I've been a fan since third grade - the first season. I was at the first-ever game, the 5-3 loss to Chicago. I cried in the parking lot afterwards, and my dad tried to console me and say there would be many more games, which was true, but I was devastated because there would never be another first game.

CBJ: What makes you a CBJ fan?

SG: My family has had two season tickets in section 103, row K since the beginning, and we love hockey and Columbus. My brother (two years younger), Dad, and I were the ones who went primarily in the early years. My sister was born six months before the first game so she's really grown up with the team and now goes to a lot of games, too. It's always been a family affair and a great way to bond.

CBJ: What do you think of the CBJ fan base?

SG: I think the CBJ fan base is one of the most underrated in all of the NHL, if not all of professional sports. It's full of knowledgeable and passionate people. I think the Jackets actually do a very good job overall interacting with the fan base. Things like Front Street Fridays are great to increase interaction between the players and fans, and the Twitter and Facebook pages are a lot of fun, not the typical boring pages like many teams do.

CBJ: What's it like being a CBJ fan at Notre Dame?

SG: Being a hockey fan in general at ND is really cool. ND has one of the top programs in the NCAA and the students get very into it. Even inter-hall hockey is big, and my dorm, Zahm House, has a huge cheering section for its games. The unique thing about a private school like ND compared to a state school is the student body comes from all over the country. I know fans of Chicago (way too many of those), Detroit, St. Louis, Nashville, San Jose, Los Angeles, Buffalo, Boston, New York Rangers, Colorado, Minnesota, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and Washington, and that creates a lot of trash-talking.

Thank you, Sam, for supporting the Blue Jackets wherever you go!

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