The sounds of a gameday afternoon are audible over his shoulder, as Jarmo Kekalainen sits at a large, wooden table in his office.
It's two hours before puck-drop at Nationwide Arena, during the Blue Jackets' final push to qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs last season, and their general manager has just been asked about his favorite part of the job.
A flat screen at the far end of the table is tuned to NHL Network, with the sound muted. A deep, thumping bass rattles the walls. The smell of popcorn fills a nearby hallway.
"I just like coming to the game, like today … a game day," said Kekalainen, who's from Tampere, Finland and is still the NHL's first-and-only European-born GM. "Just getting ready for a game, it's exciting. Today's going to be sold out, full of people and hopefully a great atmosphere. If we can come up with a win, great."
If not, the sting will feel the same as his playing days.
"That's what I enjoy the most," he said. "It's the emotional attachment to the team, the ups and the downs … just hockey games in general. Hockey has been a big part of my life and I love playing and competing. I can't do that anymore as a player, so this is the closest thing to it that I can do."
His tone is matter-of-fact. His voice low and measured. His sincerity is genuine.
Kekalainen, who signed a multi-year contract extension in September, has his dream job. Entering his sixth season in that role, his fingerprints are all over the Blue Jackets' success.
They've qualified for the Stanley Cup Playoffs in three of his first five years, including the past two - when the eventual Stanley Cup champions eliminated them. They're ready for their own Cup run now, led by an unwavering GM with a stringent draft-and-develop philosophy, but now he's facing two of the toughest decisions he might ever need to make.