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Blue Jackets kick off 2014-15 season with "meet the team" event at Columbus Zoo & Aquarium

by Rob Mixer / Columbus Blue Jackets


Blue Jackets season ticket holders enjoy several exclusive benefits throughout the year, but the consensus seems to be that one of the events stands out among the rest.

For the past several years, the team has held a “season kick-off party” at the Columbus Zoo & Aquarium, and it’s just as awesome as it sounds. This year, the Zoo staff brought animals out for fans to meet, including an armadillo and a baby kangaroo that stole the show before the show even started.

One of the main reasons why season ticket holders love this event? It’s a full-team event, complete with two autograph sessions, an on-stage introduction of the entire team and a fun “game show” style segment hosted by Bob McElligott and Jody Shelley.

VIEW PHOTOS FROM THIS YEAR'S COLUMBUS ZOO PARTY

In talking with several fans at Thursday’s event, most agreed that the season kick-off party is their favorite of the season. Mark Gernert, a full season ticket holder who lives in nearby Sunbury, explained why.

“It’s such a great event and extra special that we get to interact with the players,” Gernert said. “It shows the younger fans what the players are like off the ice and away from the rink and it’s cool for them to meet the team. It gives them someone to look up to and something positive to look forward to.”

VIEW THE FACEBOOK "GREEN SCREEN" GALLERY FROM THE ZOO!

“Between this event here at the Zoo and the event at the arena – my soon took a pass from David Savard last year and loved that – it’s really cool for him and the kids here. It’s a great experience and we really look forward to this event every year.”

The energy was palpable and the excitement was contagious with the 2014-15 Blue Jackets season less than a week away. That energy did not go unnoticed by Scott Hartnell, one of the newest Blue Jackets who had a chance to meet the team’s season ticket holders for the first time.

“The fans here are intense,” Hartnell said with a chuckle, when asked by Shelley, a friend and former teammate from their days in Philadelphia. “You can really feel the energy. I think it’s awesome.”

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