Loved locally and cursed universally, the 1857 replica Napoleon field cannon that sits atop section 111 at Nationwide Arena has become iconic.
When visiting teams and media enter the building, they already know about what happens if they yield a goal to the home team. They'd rather not hear that cannon go off, thank you very much, which only adds to its charm.
During the first intermission of home games, Blue Jackets fans gather in the hundreds for a "tweet up" near the cannon. When they say "everyone to the cannon," there's no confusion. When arena doors open one hour prior to game time, it's never a surprise to see visiting fans lined up for a picture with the cannon.
The 2015 NHL All-Star Game held in Columbus was one of the cannon's shining moments. Dozens of goals (cannon shots were limited to goals scored by Team Foligno, to the delight of many), plenty of opportunities to complain about the cannon, and it became fodder for a "wall of fame" outside the section.
And just in time for this holiday season, the cannon gets another gift under the tree (and a feather in its cap).
The Hockey News recently released its list of 10 things every hockey fan must experience. There are some obvious inclusions: wear your favorite team's jersey in opposing territory, visit the Hockey Hall of Fame, and watch a game from seats on the glass.
But when it comes to specific in-game experiences, the only NHL tradition listed was the Blue Jackets goal cannon, and that's pretty darn cool.
Here's what they have to say about our lovely piece of artillery:
"Last season, the hockey media descended on Columbus for the NHL All-Star Game. The city showed well, but a few reporters left with jangled nerves thanks to the cannon that resides in Section 111. It’s loud, for sure, but it’s also a unique aspect of going to a game at Nationwide Arena. The cannon debuted in 2007 and was built to be a Civil War-era model. It fires every time the Blue Jackets take to the ice and after every home goal. And yes, you can have your picture taken with it."