Columbus - October 31, 2013 - When Windsor Spitfires captain Kerby Rychel was selected by the Columbus Blue Jackets in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, it was an exciting moment for the star left winger and his family. It was also an exciting moment for his fans, since his future NHL home is only a three and half hour drive from Windsor.
I recently made the short trip to Columbus to experience an NHL game there. The city is located in Central Ohio, and is very easy to get to. The Blue Jackets home is the Nationwide Arena and is located in the Arena District of downtown Columbus. The area is rich in history, and boasts many refurbished older buildings and cobblestone streets.
There was a festive atmosphere outside the rink a full two hours prior to the game between the Blue Jackets and the Toronto Maple Leafs. The many (and I mean many!) incredible restaurants and bars in the area were doing a booming business. The rink itself is beautiful, and features an amazing, crystal clear Jumbotron above center ice. Ticket prices are very reasonable, starting at $25.00. In addition, two hours before puck drop, there are 250 $10.00 tickets made available on a first come, first served basis. There are also many family activities, including a giant table hockey game.
The team’s starting goaltender is Sergei Bobrovsky, last season’s Vezina Trophy winner. The roster also includes star defenseman Jack Johnson, RJ Umberger, Artem Anisimov, Marian Gaborik and a host of young talent including recent OHL graduates Dalton Prout and Boone Jenner. Ryan Murray, a 20 year defenseman and WHL grad scored his first NHL goal against the Leafs. And waiting in the wings to join his new team is right winger Nathan Horton, who is currently on the injury reserve.
This Blue Jackets club is ready to make some noise in the Eastern Conference in the very near future. And on this night, they showed confidence, outplaying the Leafs at every turn, cruising to a 5-2 victory.
After the game we took in some entertainment at Big Bang, the dueling piano bar, before heading back to the hotel. We stayed at the Red Roof Inn, a short ten minute walk from the rink. There are many hotels in the area, so booking a room is easy too.
The people of Columbus are friendly, and we felt very welcome. Thank you, Columbus, we’ll be back!!
Kerby, I think you’re going to like it there!!