COLUMBUS, Ohio – Some players are intrigued by the idea of free agency. Jared Boll is not one of them.
It wasn’t long after he played his first game in a Blue Jackets sweater (opening night 2007) that fans started to gravitate to him. And in the years since, he has become one of the NHL’s most willing combatants on the ice but also a valued member of the central Ohio community.
TRAINING CAMP CENTRAL
As he entered the final season of a two-year contract he signed last summer, Boll realized that he really only wanted to be in one place. That’s what made the process to finalize his newly-minted three-year extension a relatively painless one.
“I love it here,” Boll told BlueJackets.com. “With the moves that we’ve made the past year or so, there have been a lot of changes and this organization has a really bright future, I truly believe that. I wanted to be part of it. To me, there’s no better place to play and I don’t need to go out and see what’s out there.
“This is where I want to be. I think we have a good thing going here with this group and I didn’t want to leave. I think if we can continue the way we ended last year, these fans and this city will make this the best place to play.”
Now 27 years old and the longest-tenured member of the Blue Jackets at 338 games played (fourth on the franchise’s all-time list), Boll has emerged into one of the team’s leaders and a respected voice within the dressing room.
In what is undoubtedly one of the most anticipated seasons in Blue Jackets history, Boll didn’t want his contract situation to become a distraction. Whether it got done in the summer or in two days didn’t really matter, as long as he ensured he could continue playing in the city that has become his home.
“That’s one thing you don’t want to talk about is worrying about a contract,” Boll said. “In the last year of your contract, sometimes you get those questions (about free agency) and I didn’t even want to think about that. Now that I have this done, I can focus on this team and how we can get better together and win games.
“We have a young team, but we have a good leadership group in our room and it’s not just one guy. There are a lot of guys that work together and it’s a fun team to be part of. I started here, and I want to keep going here.”