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United States, OH • United States • 22 Years Old • Female
Let me start out by saying that I'm American. I'm not one of those who acts like every other country is crap and that the American way is the only way. Nonetheless, I am an American and I am proud of it. I have lived in Columbus, Ohio for my entire life. The city is very much a part of me, and I love it dearly (no matter how obsessed it is about Ohio State Football). I would be completely happy to spend the rest of my life living in Columbus, Ohio.

I saw hockey games when I was younger when we had an ECHL team here. I didn't get into hockey, however, until my freshman year of high school, 2000. This was the year that the Blue Jackets had their inaugural season, and I went to my first NHL game. I fell head over heels for the game of hockey on that day. I love everything about the sport, and in many ways, my passion for the game has changed my life (to mention a few, it is the reason I met my fiance, it is how I grew close to my father, and I even decided my career path because of the game).

Like I said, though, Columbus is a city that LOVES its Ohio State football. Some call Columbus an overgrown college town; It's a place where 105,000 of your closest friends will cheer on the Scarlet and Grey, rain or shine, on any given Saturday in Autumn together. NHL hockey will always play second fiddle to the Buckeyes in this town, as much as that perturbs me. But that doesn't mean that there aren't people who love the Blue Jackets, and who aren't crazy about the sport, like I am.

What inspired me to write this blog was something I saw on television on a quiet Friday night at my fiance's home in western Canada. I was sitting on the couch, watching Sportsnet with my fiance and his dad, catching the highlights from last night's games. Then on comes a piece about Alex Ovechkin and how he will be a restricted free agent after this season. The lady reporter says at one point "Wouldn't it be great to see Ovechkin in a Canadian team's jersey, in a city where hockey really matters?"

THIS is what set me off. Immediately, I felt like I was personally offended and attacked. My mind immediately went to the day when the broadcasters on Canadian highlight shows will be saying the same thing about Rick Nash. "Wouldn't it be nice to see Rick Nash in a Maple Leafs sweater? It's not like anyone in Columbus likes hockey anyway..." I immediately got upset and soon left the room because I was so frustrated.

A city where hockey really matters? What exactly does that entail? I know that I'm just a "stupid Yankee" because I can't rattle off who has won the Stanley for the last twenty-plus years, but that doesn't mean that I don't love the sport just as much as you do. I'm sorry that I didn't pop out of my mother's uterus with a pair of skates on my feet and play hockey at the age of three. That just wasn't in the cards for me. But despite the fact that I was born in the States and I was born in a city that worships football doesn't mean that I, along with all of the other die-hard Blue Jackets fans, do not deserve to have a quality all-star performer on our team. Just because the Jackets haven't made the playoffs YET doesn't mean that Columbus doesn't deserve to have any great players who can break records and lift their team up when they need it most.

If ANYTHING, the weaker market teams should more of the better players to attract more people. God knows that Canadians would still go watch the hockey no matter how terrible it is; To prove my point, look at the local Junior A BCHL team that my fiance and his family (along with 1,000 other Canadian citizens) spend $12 a game to go see for 29 home games.

Maybe the Canadians are just upset that the Cup hasn't been won by a Canadian team in nearly 15 years? I don't know, I'm just throwing out ideas.
December 29, 2007 11:47 AM ET | Delete
100% agree. I have the good fortune to live in a state that eats, sleeps, breaths and does everything else according to at least some sort of hockey schedule. I think that the pariety that the league is falling into, however, will help the attendance of the smaller/non-traditional market teams, however. There are going to be some star players that just can't afford to be kept by their respective teams. When that case comes around, they're going to go to the smaller market teams or over to Europe (hopefully the former). Unfortunately, the hockey community on a whole, especially when it comes to the NHL, is very much an elitist community.
December 29, 2007 1:20 PM ET | Delete
Agreed. We here in Nashville, as you all know, have had our fair share of "not being a real hockey town." I think a lot of it stems from the two countries, as far as their citizens, not really understanding or liking each other. Or maybe it's just a bunch of big brother-little brother rivalry.
December 29, 2007 4:08 PM ET | Delete
"Maybe the Canadians are just upset that the Cup hasn't been won by a Canadian team in nearly 15 years?" Anahiem won the cup last year...how many Canadians were on their Roster, Carolina the year before, Tampa, Jersey, Detroit.... catch my drift?
December 29, 2007 5:10 PM ET | Delete
You can't argue that more people in Ohio like hockey than in Canada, but you don't deserve to be treated like you don't love the game. That being said, hockey played in Canada is undeniably more intense. The media and fan coverage cannot be matched by very many American cities, and that draws players to the market. That is the reason you hear comments like that, try not to get too upset, just put it in the proper perspective.
December 29, 2007 5:31 PM ET | Delete
Proper perspective? Why should it be our duty to filter out the BS that these people spew out onto the airwaves? The bottom line is that such remarks are wrong, ignorant, and foolish. Yes hockey is supreme in Canada. Fantastic. That doesn't mean other cities don't love their hockey. Comments like that just shouldn't be made and reflect an arrogance that is especially repulsive to diehard fans in budding markets. It only further detracts from a sport that is falling into obscurity, it doesn't build anything up. Shouldn't sports analysts and talking heads learn some basic manners and realize their words have repercussions on the sport they love?
December 29, 2007 6:07 PM ET | Delete
well said 529
December 29, 2007 9:20 PM ET | Delete
Sure you can't argue Ohio vs. Canada. But I could argue that there are lots of potential fans who don't hear much about the sport because ESPN regards it as a punch line.
December 30, 2007 8:22 AM ET | Delete
I think you guys are misunderstanding the quote from Sportsnet. They weren't saying he should go to a Canadian team, but the Canadiens' team. There have been numerous 'rumours' that he would be a great fit in Montreal. SO this was not a jab at American hockey fans saying hockey is only important in Canada, but that it would be great to have such superstar in a more hockey-beloved city. I know there are some American teams like Columbus and Nashville that are gaining momentum and that's awesome, but Washington is dead last in attendance this year. In fact they have been gradually decreasing in ticket sales since the start of the millennium. They have been at an all time low since Ovechkin joined the team (not saying they are related, but just a coincidence).
December 30, 2007 12:14 PM ET | Delete
"Wouldn't it be great to see Ovechkin in a Canadian team's jersey, in a city where hockey really matters?" I don't really see how this is a misunderstanding. Sounds pretty straightforward to me.
December 30, 2007 2:58 PM ET | Delete
A Canadian team is one in a Canadian city. The Canadien team is the one from Montreal. Sportsnet was not saying hockey does not matter in the States and only matters in Canada, but that it does not matter in Washington and it does in Montreal. One team is 1st in attendance, the other is 30th. I think the guy who wrote this blog misunderstood what Sportsnet was saying.
December 30, 2007 3:10 PM ET | Delete
December 30, 2007 4:49 PM ET | Delete
As I was initially reading this blog, I believed, as have others who have responded to it, that the blog was a bit of an overreaction, taking a sports anchor's comments out of context. Then, I recalled an event that affected me in the same way. Living in Toronto, I am obviously a Maple Leafs fan, but I am a fan of Toronto sports in general. If anyone else here follows the Blue Jays, then they'll know what I mean when I harken back to the MLB All-Star game of this past year. Alex Rios, a Blue Jay, made it to the finals of the coveted Home Run Derby. This does not happen often, period. However, the announcers made several comments, as Rios belted homer after homer, about how "this guy is such a great young talent. Imagine if he had exposure in a REAL American market?" and so on. And much like this blogger, I took that personally. The assumption that was made, was that Canadians don't know and respect baseball like people from New York or Boston or Los Angeles. I've experienced this situation from both sides of the fence, and as such know full well what people in a place like Washington or Columbus, who love their teams and the game of hockey, go through when automatically cast-off as "not a REAL hockey market".
December 30, 2007 8:20 PM ET | Delete
Great point, Pantz. I think it has something to do with word choice. Obviously Toronto's exposure doesn't come close to that in New York and Boston, hence the use of "real baseball market". Maybe replace the word "real" with "bigger" and less people would be offended?
December 30, 2007 11:26 PM ET | Delete
You hit the nail on the head, Egg. Its simply a matter of word choice. Its one thing to be an arrogant jerk and another to broadcast it over the airwaves. The sentiments are there on both sides of the border with the respective sports, baseball and hockey. Nevertheless it shouldn't be aired out there. Broadcasters really need to use better sense when they open their mouths and pick their words.
December 31, 2007 12:54 AM ET | Delete
Good blog ... love your passion.I can understand your frustration ... I used to be a Montreal Expos fan (gasp!).Too many times on HockeyBuzz have I seen threads on this very subject ... a fan is a fan regardless of who you cheer for or where you live.Continue the good fight.
December 31, 2007 3:12 PM ET | Delete
Mojo - first off, I'm a girl. Secondly, I know the difference between Canadian and Canadien, so unless the person broadcasting the story mispronounced it and made the story general to all of Canada and not specific to Montreal, then I didn't misunderstand a word. I know the rumors about Alex O. and Montreal. Still, it doesn't really matter because it is still a statement of arrogance when saying that hockey matters in Montreal and not in Washington. Yeah, it's true that there is definitely more passionate fans, more people who are hockey fanatics there, but that doesn't mean that the smaller market teams don't deserve to have superstars.I don't know what would happen to the Caps if Alex left. They don't have any star power after that. And they struggle with their attendance now - what happens when the only superstar they have leaves? What is the point of watching anymore for most people in that market? I struggle with the same thought for IF (I pray to god it's not a when) Rick Nash leaves, there will not be any reason for most to watch anymore, because we don't have a star player behind him. Zherdev may be the best alternative and he isn't superstar quality by any means. Teams in small markets can't survive without a star player, while a big market can. A good example of a big market team surviving without a superstar is Edmonton. Smyth left, now they're best player is Horcoff or Hemsky. While they aren't terrible, they are superstars either. But Edmonton still has over a 98% attendance rate.Egg, Pantz, Wilson - I'm glad you all can understand where I am coming from, especially Egg and Pantz, being Canadians and all. It mainly comes down to responsible journalism. We all know that as a whole, hockey matters more in Canada than it does in the smaller markets in the states. But saying that on the air and basically saying that the smaller teams shouldn't have their stars is just not a good broadcasting practice. During the same broadcast, Hughston was doing the highlights and when it came to a Florida game, he basically said he didn't know where if Florida they were from. That has two problems - to me it said that he didn't care enough to look it up, and that he's just not a good broadcaster, because what broadcaster admits to not knowing something, especially when reporting on hockey in a country where Hockey is king?This is so long I should've just probably blogged again. Oh well!
January 1, 2008 8:50 AM ET | Delete
Bluejackets, thanks for clarifying your position. I apologize for referring to you as a guy, that was a poor assumption (and reading!) on my part. I definitely agree with you about Sportsnet and their poor programing. Have you ever read the blogs on their website? They are painful! I like your honesty that hockey will never be number 1 in Columbus, but it is still really important. However, I do not think you can convince that hockey is really all that important to the people of Washington. I imagine it is at least 5 or 6 in the sporting priority chain in Washington. Its attendance is at a low point despite Ovechkin`s presence. If he can`t pack a stadium there, who can? I don`t think hockey only matters in Canada, there are plenty of cities in the States where it does, just not Washington. Anyways, thanks for you opinions and enjoy the Bluejackets first playoff series in April. There is nothing better than watching your team in the playoffs!
January 2, 2008 9:23 AM ET | Delete
Bluejacketsbabe, we the fans of the Predators are in the same boat with you and even though we have a great rivalry we are pulling for you and your market. Hopefully, with your great young squad improving, your local fan base will continue to grow. I do have one question though, how are the youth and high school programs doing there? I know here in Nashville that since the inception of the Preds the demand for ice time has exceeded the availability of ice. That is a good thing IMO. That is proof that the sport is growing here in Nashville and I was just wondering if Columbus was seeing the same type of thing. Keep fighting the good fight! Happy New Year!
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