COLUMBUS, Ohio – At one of Columbus' signature sports community events, sports fans will have a special opportunity to see Columbus sports icon, five-time NHL All-Star and Olympic gold medalist Rick Nash joined by NHL Hall of Famers Phil Esposito and Stan Mikita and other notable sports figures at the 8th annual The Morning Sports Report, presented by Marathon. The sports town hall breakfast brings together and provides fans an inside look at Central Ohio's teams and notable sports figures and will be held on Wednesday, June 29 at 7:30 a.m. at the Hyatt Regency Columbus Ballroom. Additional special guests who will be joining Nash, Esposito and Mikita will be announced in the coming weeks.
In celebration of the Columbus Blue Jackets’ first decade of National Hockey League play in Central Ohio, the Greater Columbus Sports Commission partnered with the team to bring together some of hockey’s greatest ambassadors. Prior to the breakfast, a special VIP reception, presented by FOX Sports Ohio, with the Hall of Famers and additional sports celebrities will be held and a Fan Fair featuring a variety of mascots, booths and activities for the city's sports teams and organizations will be held from 7:30-8 a.m. in the lobby, with the program beginning at 8 a.m.
"Each year, we try to feature local sports celebrities at our annual meeting that are very well known nationally and this year, internationally," Logan said. "Rick Nash brings such international attention to Columbus being captain of Team Canada and an Olympian and we are thrilled to have him joined at the Morning Sports Report by some of hockey’s all-time greatest players."
Fans will have the opportunity to be up close and personal with local sports celebrities in attendance, hear live sports interviews that cannot be heard anywhere else and attend the Fan Fair. All attendees will also receive a free "Columbus Sports" ticket package for various Columbus sporting events. Ticket options are as follows:
•$70 for an individual seat and $85 for an individual VIP seat with one ticket to the VIP reception with sports celebrities
•$800 for a table for ten that includes two tickets to the VIP reception with sports celebrities and
•$1,500 for VIP table for nine with the opportunity to host a sports celebrity with nine tickets to the VIP reception with sports celebrities, and other special amenities
"The Blue Jackets are proud to support the Greater Columbus Sports Commission and the invaluable work it does in our community. We are very excited that this year's Morning Sports Report will bring together one of hockey's current superstars in our own Rick Nash and some of the great players and personalities who have been a part of the National Hockey League's rich history," said Blue Jackets President Mike Priest. "This event not only serves as a celebration of sports in our community, but promises to be entertaining, informative and memorable for all who attend."
Last year, The Morning Sports Report brought together The Ohio State University's four living Heisman Trophy winners Howard 'Hopalong' Cassady, Archie Griffin, Eddie George and Troy Smith, marking the first time they ever appeared together. The event previously featured national celebrities with local ties such as CBS basketball analyst Clark Kellogg and ESPN football analyst Kirk Herbstreit. Linda Shetina Logan, executive director of the Greater Columbus Sports Commission, and representatives of the Blue Jackets, Crew, Clippers and The Ohio State University will also be featured at the breakfast.
The Greater Columbus Sports Commission (GCSC) was formed in June 2002 to provide leadership, guidance and marketing expertise in attracting regional, national and international sporting events and activities to bolster Greater Columbus economically and socially. It is the only organization 100% focused on attracting sporting events to Columbus. Since its inception, GCSC has bid on and brought more than 150 new sporting events to Columbus that have generated an estimated $150 million in visitor spending, while also working to retain annual bid events that have generated an additional $100 million in visitor spending. For more information on The Morning Sports Report, visit www.ColumbusSports.org.
Phil Esposito played 18 seasons in the National Hockey League from 1963-81 and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1984. He scored 717 goals and added 873 assists for 1,590 points in 1,282 career games with the Chicago Blackhawks, Boston Bruins and New York Rangers. He led the Bruins win Stanley Cup championships in 1970 and 1972, was the NHL's Most Valuable Player in 1969 and 1974, led the league in scoring five times and played in 10 All-Star Games.\ Esposito is the fifth-leading goal scorer in NHL history and ranks 10th on the league's all-time points list.
Stan Mikita played 22 seasons in the National Hockey League from 1958-80 and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1983. He spent his entire career with the Chicago Blackhawks, registering 1,467 points on 541 goals and 926 assists in 1,394 games. He is the franchise's all-time leader in points, assists and games played, ranks second to Bobby Hull (604) in goals and helped Chicago win the1960-61 Stanley Cup. Mikita was the NHL's Most Valuable Player and Lady Byng Trophy winner in 1967 and 1968, led the league in scoring four times and played in nine All-Star Games.
Rick Nash was the first overall pick of the 2002 NHL Entry Draft, scored a goal in his first NHL game with the Blue Jackets less than four months later, became the youngest player in NHL history to lead the league in goal scoring as a 19-year-old in 2003-04 and has become one of the league’s true superstars. He has appeared in the last five NHL All-Star Games and represented Canada at the past two Olympic Games, including 2010 when he helped the squad capture the gold medal. He has led the Blue Jackets in goals in each of the past seven seasons and in points in each of the past four. He is the club's all-time leader in goals, assists, points and games played with 259-229-488 in 592 games.
APPENDIX II – GCSC EVENT OUTLOOK
Marquee events in which the GCSC has played a significant role in attracting to or hosting in Columbus include:
•FIFA Women's World Cup (September 2003)
•NCAA Men's Basketball 2nd & 3rd Rounds (2004, 2007)
•World Cup of Hockey Training Camp (June 2004)
•NCAA Frozen Four (April 2005)
•NSA Girls Fast Pitch World Series (2006, 2008)
•U.S. Olympic Trials – Synchronized Swimming (December 2006)
•NHL Entry Draft (June 2007)
•USA Track & Field Junior Outdoor Track & Field Championships (June 2008)
•McDonald's All American High School Basketball Games (March 2010)
•National Association of Sports Commission's Sports Event Symposium (April 2010)
•NAGAAA Gay Softball World Series (August 2010)
•Big Ten Conference Baseball Tournament (May 2009, 2010, 2011)
•NCAA Women's Basketball 1st & 2nd Rounds (2004, 2009, 2011)
•NCAA Men's Gymnastics Championships (April 2011)
Major upcoming events include:
•NCAA Division III Outdoor Track & Field Championships (May 2011)
•NCAA Men's Basketball 1st & 2nd Rounds (March 2012)
•President's Cup (September/October 2013)
•Ohio High School State Football Championships (December 2014, 2015)
Major event bids include:
•National Kidney Foundation U.S. Transplant Games (August 2012)
•USA Volleyball Girls Junior National Championships (June/July 2012)
•US Table Tennis US Open & US National (2012)
•NCAA Women's Gymnastics Regional (2013)
•NCAA Men's Golf Regional (2013)
•NHL All-Star Game (2013)
•Ohio State Men's Bowling Tournament (2014)