Throughout the 2020-21 season and offseason, BlueJackets.com is profiling season ticket holders who have become an integral part of the CBJ experience as part of the Season Ticket Holder spotlight presented by Jet's Pizza.
For Columbus Blue Jackets season ticket holder Beau Hoy and his wife Mary, priorities have changed over the years.
Years ago, a game night meant racing from work to the Arena District to enjoy some pregame tailgating ahead of a Jackets game.
Now, it often means arriving minutes before faceoff with 9-year-old daughter Ele or 7-year-old Abby in tow.
"My kids go to games now," said Hoy, a longtime season ticket holder who recently renewed his pair of full-season ducats in Section 109. "They know all the cheers. They have been saying 'CBJ' since they were 3 and 4, so they know the cheers. I wouldn't say they know the players real well, but they definitely root for the Jackets.
"They understand the game, but the cotton candy is the biggest draw."
Going from pregame tallboy cans to cotton candy, things are different, but the CBJ fandom remains a constant. A native of St. Mary's, Ohio, who came to Columbus to attend Ohio State and never left, Hoy and his family have had plenty of CBJ memories.
They've been there for some of the biggest moments in franchise history, from playoff triumphs to events like the NHL All-Star Game and draft. Beau and Mary went overseas in 2010 when the Blue Jackets opened the season in Stockholm, Sweden, and they attended all four games of the sweep of Tampa Bay in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs, with Beau sneaking a small broom into Nationwide Arena to celebrate the finale of the four-game sweep.
For someone who didn't exactly grow up in a hotbed of hockey in the western Ohio city that sits on the eastern edge of Grand Lake St. Mary's, Hoy first got into the Blue Jackets as an OSU graduate making a living in Columbus. Embracing a growing city's first professional team in the four major sports, Hoy saw his love of his new town and the city's hockey team grow as one.
"I am all about Columbus," he said. "It's one of the most underrated cities I think in the country, so I want to support anything local lie that. We have the means to do it, so let's do it.
"That was the initial thing was that it was to support the city, then you go to a game and you're like, 'This is addicting, it's fun.' It started like, 'This is a cool thing to do,' and it quickly became a passion."
The Hoy family has been in it for the long haul, with all members of the family -- including Beau's father -- taking advantage. There have been plenty of memories in Nationwide Arena and elsewhere, including road trips to such cities as Nashville, St. Louis, Detroit and Toronto for away games.
One memory sticks out showing the longevity of his fandom, though. Hoy was in the crowd on Dec. 8, 2000, when the Blue Jackets won in overtime for the first time, as Geoff Sanderson's goal past Peter Skudra with just nine seconds left in the extra frame gave the Jackets a 3-2 win.
"That was an outstanding game," he said. "We were sitting on the glass. He scored form right in front of us and that memory is burned in my brain."
Of course, all of this changed a year ago when the pandemic kept Nationwide Arena from hosting fans for almost a full year. Hoy was unable to attend any Blue Jackets games when the arena could begin hosting fans again this past March but can't wait to return next season.
"100 percent," Hoy said. "I can't wait to get back into the environment of going to games. I love the Saturday matinee games when they have them for the kids. There are some non-negotiables with my ticket partner. My wife and I, we always take the opener, we always take the closer and we always have New Year's. The others, we split them equally. I can't wait to get back down there."
Indeed, as Hoy noted, he does have a season ticket partner and has split the seats with friends in recent years. Of late, it's been Josh Fitzwater, though as Hoy noted, as the season-ticket holder, he retains the right to see the games he wants to see.
When he is in Nationwide Arena, whether it's with immediate family or someone like Fitzwater, he's come to know many of the longtime fans who both sit around him and those who have made plenty of pregame stops at R Bar over the years or traveled with him on a Jackets Backers road trip.
"We have some great friends that I don't even have their phone numbers, but they're my seat neighbors," he said. "We always talk at the game. There's been some changes over the years but for the most part it's the same 8-10 people that sit around us for the last 10 years, which is really cool."
In some ways, that's what being a season ticket holder is all about. It's a family gathering in a lot of ways, one that always changes over the years but always feels familiar.
And going into a new season of CBJ hockey while coming out of the pandemic, that familiar vibe can go a long way for those who have been season ticket holders for the long haul.
"We're all in," Hoy said. "We have all the ticket stubs saved and all the things that we've done there - the draft, the All-Star Game. We've done all the things you can do Jackets related."
We appreciate the support and investment from our Blue Jackets Season Ticket Holders. If you haven't yet renewed your season ticket package for the 2020-21 season, you can do that by clicking renew. If you have any questions, please contact your Account Specialist, our ticket office at 614-246-3350, via e-mail at email@example.com or chat with us HERE. We look forward to seeing you back at Nationwide Arena this October!