It is said that if you push a person so far, they will eventually push back – that believe has now become reality for Columbus Blue Jackets fans.
The Blue Jackets easily occupy the 30th position in the National Hockey League (NHL), posting a horrid record of 13-30-6. Were the Blue Jackets a rebuilding team with a limited team payroll that would be understandable. However, Blue Jackets ownership ‘opened up the wallets’ to the tune of $64.3 million which was the 5th highest payroll at the beginning of the regular season and 9th, currently.
Last week, an ownership meeting was held with all ownership groups to include Nationwide Insurance who now have 30% ownership stake in the Blue Jackets. During the meetings, a topic of discussion was on Blue Jackets management’s plan to fix the deep ills that have made the Blue Jackets a national embarrassment.
Team President Mike Priest and embattled General Manager (GM) Scott Howson presented ownership with a plan that included potentially significant changes before next season. However, this plan did not include a front-office overhaul, something considered to be an absolute necessity by many throughout the NHL to allow the Blue Jackets to even become competitive.
But the vibe permeating as a result of these meetings was that both Priest and Howson’s jobs appear to be safe and it’s this belief that has angered the masses in Columbus to an unprecedented level, both in the city’s history and in NHL lore.
Enter ‘Occupy Nationwide’.
The official title for the event, scheduled for this Saturday, January
28, 2012 from 2 P.M. to 5 P.M. EST is Columbus Blue Jackets (CBJ) Fan
Protest but its theme is similar to the ‘Occupy’ protests that have
occurred throughout the country, from Wall Street to Seattle.
Their message is simple: They are disgusted by the losing and they want both Priest and Howson to be ousted (fired) by the team’s majority owner, John P. McConnell, and entire ownership groups. The fans feel that their concerns are being totally ignored, that both Priest and Howson have utter disregard and respect for their wish to field a competitive team, that they are solely responsible for bringing in players who lack talent and are devoid of any heart.
As a close friend of mine has so eloquently stated, “We LOVE our
Jackets, we HATE the direction.”
So the fans are slated to protest in front of the Blue Jackets home, Nationwide Arena on Saturday. They have launched an information
and on Twitter #CBJFANPROTEST.
The ‘Occupy’ Blue Jackets movement has garnered steam, both locally and nationally. Hockey publications both in Ohio and across America are picking up this story.
Will this protest resonate with ownership? Its history would suggest otherwise. But it could be the beginning of unyielding fan outrage which could result in ownership action until their demands of a competitive NHL product and long-overdue accountability with senior management and the players are met.