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Fans "join the battle" at exclusive ticket event

by Brad Friedman / Columbus Blue Jackets

Prospective season ticket holders visited Nationwide Arena last week to get a sneak peek at what’s in store for the 2014-15 Blue Jackets season, including a first-hand account from coach Todd Richards.

They also had the opportunity to take a private tour around the arena and meet with former Blue Jacket and current Fox Sports Ohio analyst Jody Shelley.

Fans were then brought into the Founders’ Club where Blue Jackets radio voice Bob McElligott hosted a question and answer session with Richards and Blue Jackets forward Jared Boll. Fan questions ranged from previewing next season, to Richards’ experience at the Olympics and even Boll’s favorite color.

Fans who placed a deposit on a season ticket got to hang out in the Blue Jackets locker room where Boll was waiting to sign autographs, take pictures and meet with the newest season ticket holders.

Blue Jackets senior vice president and chief marketing officer John Browne was thrilled to see the excitement of new season ticket holders as well as those who have decided to re-invest in a team that’s widely regarded as having a very bright future.

“They’re excited and they see the direction,” Browne said. “They see the reasons to be optimistic about the future - clearly, people are passionate about the team.”

Passion presents itself in several forms, but 12-year old Whitaker Noble’s passion for the Blue Jackets inspired him to start a business: cleaning up after dogs. The Bexley youngster traveled to yards all over his community, raising approximately $600 to purchase his own season tickets.

Fellow first-time season ticket holder Randy Winkle isn’t shy about sharing his optimism for the Blue Jackets. The Gahanna resident has been attending Blue Jackets games since the club’s inaugural season, but the recent burst of positive momentum – including a playoff run that he’ll always remember - pushed him to purchase a season ticket plan.

“They’re getting the right (type of) players, and they have the right coaching staff,” Winkle said.

Winkle was impressed by what Boll and Richards had to say about the club’s past, present and future and admired the advantages of signing up for the season ticket plan, such as All-Star Game ticket priority and the ability to purchase additional seats for games.

Browne emphasized that he never had a doubted Columbus’ ability to embrace the Blue Jackets, labeling central Ohio as not only a great hockey market, but a great sports market.

“We were confident that as our team improved on the ice, the overall community would rally behind the team,” Browne said. “The people that live here have a lot of pride in Columbus and the Blue Jackets are an extension of that.”

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