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Fan groups unite 5th line

by Brad Friedman / Columbus Blue Jackets

Throughout the 2013-14 season and into the Stanley Cup playoffs, there were a lot of variables, ups and downs, and things changing all the time. But one thing always seemed to remain the same: the passionate, energetic support of Blue Jackets fans and fan groups within the online community.

One of the more powerful #CBJ social media movements in franchise history - #WeAreThe5thLine – was started by a group of fans just prior to the Stanley Cup playoffs and quickly became a rallying cry for the entire fanbase. That’s just one thing we’ll cover in this piece, in addition to several other fan groups you may or may not have heard of in your travels around the #CBJ interwebs.

The CBJ Artillery (@TheCBJArtillery)

As stated in their Twitter bio, the CBJ Artillery is the social media battleground for the fifth line. A small group of diehard Blue Jackets fans provide regular in-game updates, news and are always eager to interact with fans.

For Artillery founder Jordan Mills, the impromptu creation of the Twitter account was not only a way for him to tweet about his favorite team, but a way to introduce a laid-back fan account with the sole purpose of having fun and interacting.

“We’re just here watching hockey,” Mills said. “We’re not trying to change the world.”

Mills didn’t set out to change the world, but he and TJ Nocar of Blue Jackets Nation (@CBJ_Nation) did change the #CBJ social landscape with five simple words late in the season: “We Are The 5th Line.”

After a heartbreaking 4-3 loss to Chicago on April 4, the fight for the final two wild card spots heated up in the Eastern Conference. Mills decided that the Jackets deserved a rally cry that would help push them into the playoffs.

Two days later, the Artillery unveiled the hashtag “We Are The 5th Line” along with a logo that could be used as a Twitter avatar. Within a few hours of its official introduction, #WeAreThe5thLine was trending in Columbus with no assistance from the official Blue Jackets Twitter account.

“That’s when the Blue Jackets said, ‘Wow, this is something special,’” Mills said. “When you roll something out on social media, you don’t know what success it’s going to take.”

Successful it was. Prior to every home playoff game, the three-story-tall “We Are The Fifth Line” banner was raised in the corner of Nationwide Arena accompanied by a deafening roar from the 19,000-plus in attendance.

Mills choked up when the banner first rose to the ceiling and admitted that the magnitude of that moment has yet to set in.

“For the Artillery to get this movement started and to see that banner go up, it was something special,” Mills said. “The fifth line is going to be something that is a staple in the organization for years to come. It’s a social connection point for fans to come be a part of.”

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