John F. Wolfe, a minority owner of the Columbus Blue Jackets, died Friday at age 72.
"The National Hockey League family mourns the passing of John Wolfe. John's philanthropy touched many lives and a variety of causes, and his commitment to the advancement of the city of Columbus was extraordinary," NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said. "His support of the city's first major sports franchise, the attention and focus he directed toward the construction of Nationwide Arena, and his dedication to the development of the Arena District are just three illustrations of John's devotion to his beloved hometown. John will be missed inside and outside the NHL. We send condolences to his family and his many friends."
Wolfe was a key figure in bringing NHL hockey to Columbus, investing in the Blue Jackets and in the construction of Nationwide Arena.
"Columbus has lost a gentle giant," Alex Fischer, president of the Columbus Partnership, told The Dispatch. "In our city's history, simply no one has done more to move our community forward. His commitment to his family, our city, his beloved Buckeyes and our community's health-care providers is second to none.
"He often talked to me about the collaborative nature of the Columbus business, civic and political leadership as our greatest asset," Fischer said. "He held the highest standard, expectation and respect for community engagement at all levels. His commitment to Columbus will continue through our work and will serve to honor his memory every day."
Wolfe, who was a former publisher of The Dispatch, a Columbus business leader and philanthropist, had cancer the past two years. He died at the James Cancer Hospital at Ohio State University's Wexner Medical Center.