In football, there are 11 players on the field. The home field advantage for teams like the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks – one of the best in the business - is often referred to as the “12th man,” a strong backing of passionate fans who’d run through a wall for their team.
While brainstorming ways to rally the Blue Jackets fan community around the team’s playoff push, Jordan Mills and his team at The CBJ Artillery (@TheCBJArtillery) with the help of CBJ Nation (@CBJ_Nation) had a thought: why not try something similar with hockey fans?
And in the blink of an eye, the idea for #WeAreThe5thLine was born. It didn’t take much longer for the hashtag to become a national trend on Twitter, and it has been trending locally in Columbus since Sunday.
The movement has grown exponentially and has been accomplished with nothing other than fan support. The Blue Jackets fan community latched on to the hashtag almost immediately, with Twitter avatars switching to a custom-made graphic left and right, and with scores of fans sharing photos of how they’re part of the “fifth line.”
Mills said the whole idea was to let the fans, players and city of Columbus know that the Blue Jackets have their support during a most exciting time for the franchise.
“We’re all about wanting to incorporate everyone, and giving the fans a platform to express themselves,” Mills said. “The idea kind of came naturally…we wanted to create something that everyone could take part in and this just made sense right away. The hashtag was simple enough, and obviously, you never really know what kind of reaction you’re going to get.
“But the fans seemed to embrace it immediately, and then we saw people changing their pictures over, which really reinforced how much energy there is around this team right now.”
Mills and his close friend Matt Pfeffer (the original founders of The CBJ Artillery) have dedicated the past year-plus to creating a high-energy, grassroots movement among Blue Jackets fans that anyone can take part in. They’ve joined an engaged social media community that has shown it will band together to defend its own, challenge the conventional way of fan interaction, and come up with creative ways to, very simply, get fired up for big games.
With the Blue Jackets playing more of those big games this season, Mills and his team hope that #WeAreThe5thLine becomes a rallying cry for the fan base.
As of Tuesday morning, Blue Jackets players Jack Johnson and James Wisniewski had incorporated the hashtag on their own social media accounts, and The CBJ Artillery is encouraging fans coming to tonight’s game to show their “5th line” pride by creating signs, custom-made shirts, face paint…anything they want to support the movement.
Because at the end of the day, it’s about being fans, having fun, and cheering on the team you love, Mills said.
“That’s exactly what is: we all love the Blue Jackets, and this is a really exciting time,” Mills said. “We’re fired up, everyone’s fired up…it’s fun.”
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