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The Columbus Blue Jackets are a professional ice hockey team based in Columbus, Ohiomarker, United States. They are members of the Central Division of the Western Conference of the National Hockey League (NHL). Preceded in Ohio's capital by the Columbus Chill of the ECHL, the Blue Jackets were founded as an expansion team in 2000. The team qualified for the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time in 2009. They had previously been the only active NHL team not to qualify.

The Blue Jackets' name and logos are rooted in Ohio's rich Civil War history. Rick Nash, David Vyborny, Ray Whitney, Fredrik Modin, Steve Mason, Geoff Sanderson, R. J. Umberger and Sergei Fedorov are some of the prominent NHL figures to have donned a Columbus sweater. Ken Hitchcock has been their coach since late 2006, and current general manager Scott Howson started in 2007. The Blue Jackets play their home games in downtown Columbus at Nationwide Arenamarker, which opened in 2000.

Franchise history

1997–2000: Building a new franchise

After the Cleveland Barons left in 1978, Ohio's hockey fans had to wait 22 years to host another NHL team. Columbus entered an expansion bid in 1997, along with several other cities. The voters of Columbus were considering a referendum to build a publicly financed arena, a major step toward approval of their NHL bid. When League Commissioner Gary Bettman visited Columbus to meet with the community's leaders about the franchise proposal, there was concern that the voters might not pass the needed referendum. The civic leaders told Bettman that they would not be willing to foot the bill for the team if the referendum failed. However, just after the meeting adjourned, John H. McConnell (one of those who entered the bid) privately guaranteed Bettman that an arena would be built, referendum or not.

Columbus's hopes for the bid dimmed when the May referendum failed. However, Nationwidemarker announced on May 31, 1997, that it would finance the $150-million arena. Subsequently, on June 25, 1997, the NHL announced that Columbus would receive a new franchise.

On June 23, 2000, the NHL's two newest teams, the Blue Jackets and the Minnesota Wild, took part in the 2000 NHL Expansion Draft in Calgarymarker, Albertamarker. Under the draft's rules, 26 of the NHL's active 28 teams were allowed to protect one goaltender, five defensemen, and nine forwards, or two goaltenders, three defensemen, and seven forwards. The Atlanta Thrashers and Nashville Predators both had their full rosters protected because they were the two newest teams, only being in existence for one and two years, respectively. Both the Blue Jackets and Wild had to use their first 24 selections on three goaltenders, eight defensemen, and thirteen forwards. Their final two picks could be players of any position.

With the first-overall choice, the Blue Jackets selected goaltender Rick Tabaracci from the Colorado Avalanche. Over the course of the draft, Columbus picked up goalie Dwayne Roloson, defensemen Lyle Odelein and Mathieu Schneider, and forwards Geoff Sanderson, Turner Stevenson, and Dallas Drake, among others. Instead of joining Columbus, Roloson signed with the American Hockey League's Worcester IceCats, Schneider left for the Los Angeles Kings, and the St. Louis Blues signed Drake. Columbus also traded Stevenson to the New Jersey Devils to complete an earlier transaction.

The Blue Jackets and Wild were granted concessions by some franchises who could not protect their full rosters. The San Jose Sharks traded Jan Caloun, a ninth-round pick in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft, and a 2001 conditional pick to Columbus; in return, the Blue Jackets agreed not to select the Sharks' unprotected goaltender Evgeni Nabokov. On June 24, at the 2000 NHL Entry Draft, Columbus selected Rostislav Klesla fourth overall.

2000–05: Early years

Logo 2000–2007
The Blue Jackets played their first regular-season game on October 7, 2000, a 5–3 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks. Bruce Gardiner scored the franchise's first goal. Columbus finished with a 28–39–9–6 record for 71 points, last in the Central Division, and failed to qualify for the playoffs. Geoff Sanderson became the first player in team history to score 30 goals. Ron Tugnutt, who was signed in the summer of 2000, supplied solid goaltending with 22 wins, which tied the 74-year-old League record for wins by an expansion-team goalie (New York Rangers' Lorne Chabot also had 22 wins in 1926–27).

The Blue Jackets finished next-to-last in the NHL in the following season, with only 57 points. Ray Whitney, acquired from the Florida Panthers the previous season, led the team in scoring with 61 points, setting a franchise record. Tragedy struck the Blue Jackets organization in March 2002 when 13-year-old Brittanie Cecil was killed after an errant shot by Espen Knutsen struck her in the head while she was in the stands at Nationwide Arenamarker. As a result of her death, large nylon mesh nets were installed behind the goals in all NHL arenas to shield spectators from pucks going over the glass. The team also wore small red hearts with the initials "BNC" on their helmets.

During the offseason, the Blue Jackets traded a second-round pick (32nd overall) and Tugnutt to the Dallas Stars. In return, Columbus received Dallas's first-round pick (20th overall) in the 2002 draft. On the morning of the draft, Columbus traded the third-overall pick and the option to flip draft spots in 2003 to the Florida Panthers; in return Columbus received the first-overall pick, which they used to select Rick Nash.

The 2002–03 season started with Columbus putting up a 7–5–1–1 record after the first 14 games. However, as expectations from their fans grew higher, the team came back to mediocrity, finishing last in the Central Division for the third consecutive season and missing the playoffs once again. Dave King, who had been the team's head coach since their debut in 2000, was fired midseason and replaced by general manager Doug MacLean. Marc Denis was named starting goalie; he played a franchise-record 77 games that season and set a League record with 4,511 minutes played in 2002–03. He tied for second all-time for games played in a season by a goaltender, just two shy of the League record held by St. Louis Blues' Grant Fuhr in the 1995–96 season.

The 2003–04 season was another losing season for the Blue Jackets despite key additions in the offseason. Checking center Todd Marchant was signed to a five-year contract in July from the Edmonton Oilers. Defenseman Darryl Sydor, known to play strong offense as well, was acquired from the Dallas Stars for Mike Sillinger and a draft pick. MacLean stepped aside as head coach midway through the season, giving way to Gerard Gallant. The Blue Jackets finished with just 62 points (the second-lowest total in their short history), but it was enough to help them break out of last place in the Central Division for the first time, finishing ahead of the Chicago Blackhawks. Nash was one of the few bright spots for the team; his 41 goals tied Jarome Iginla and Ilya Kovalchuk for the Rocket Richard Trophy (as League leader in goals scored).

Civil War cap shoulder patch
In the 2004 offseason, the League's Players' Association and the League's administration failed to renew their collective bargaining agreement. September 14, 2004 marked the beginning of the lockout of the 2004–05 season. No games were played and the Stanley Cup was not awarded for the first time since the flu epidemic of 1919. An agreement was made on July 13, 2005 and the lockout officially ended nine days later on July 22, 2005.

2005 and beyond: Post-lockout

In the summer of 2005, rugged Colorado Avalanche defenseman Adam Foote agreed to a 3-year deal with the team. Heading into the 2005–06 season, it appeared the Blue Jackets would finally take the next step and make the playoffs. Instead, injuries to Nash, Klesla, and Gilbert Brule, the team's 2005 first-round pick, led to the team putting up a dismal 9–25–1 record through its first 35 games. Superstar Sergei Fedorov was acquired from the Anaheim Mighty Ducks; Anaheim received Tyler Wright and Francois Beauchemin, and later claimed Todd Marchant off waivers. While again failing to make the playoffs, Columbus did manage to improve. They had the best overtime record in the NHL (14–4) and finished the season with franchise records for wins (35) and points (74). For the first time ever, they earned a third-place finish in the Central Division, behind Detroit and Nashville.

The 2006–07 season saw several changes made to the team. In the offseason, Marc Denis was dealt to the Tampa Bay Lightning for forward Fredrik Modin and goaltending prospect Fredrik Norrena, making way for Pascal Leclaire to take the starting job. The Blue Jackets also signed Anson Carter when it looked as if Nikolai Zherdev would be playing the season in Russiamarker; in late September, however, Zherdev and General Manager Doug MacLean were able to reach a compromise. Partway through the season, on November 13, 2006, Gerard Gallant was relieved of his duties as head coach. The next day, Gary Agnew was named his interim replacement. On November 22, Ken Hitchcock, former coach of the Dallas Stars and Philadelphia Flyers, was named the new head coach, effective the following day. Under Hitchcock's first year, two milestones were set: on December 10, 2006, the Blue Jackets scored a team-record five power-play goals in a 6–2 win over the Ottawa Senators, and on April 3, 2007, the Blue Jackets broke the modern-day record for most times being shut-out in a season (16) with a 3–0 loss to the Detroit Red Wings.

On April 18, 2007, Doug MacLean, the team's first general manager and president, was fired after nine years and six seasons at the helm without a playoff berth. Mike Priest, President of Blue Jackets parent company JMAC, Inc., was named President of the club, while Assistant General Manager Jim Clark served as General Manager until the Blue Jackets named Edmonton Oilers Assistant General Manager Scott Howson as the new general manager on June 15, 2007.

On October 4, 2007, the Blue Jackets announced their affiliation with the Elmira Jackals, which replaced their former affiliation with the Dayton Bombers as the club's ECHL affiliate.

The 2007–08 season, the club's first full season under Hitchcock, started off well as the Jackets got off to their best start in franchise history, starting with a 4–0 shutout of the defending Stanley Cup champion Anaheim Ducks. At the trade deadline on February 26, 2008, however, apparently unable to agree on a new contract and amid some controversy, Blue Jackets captain Adam Foote requested a trade to the Colorado Avalanche, which was granted. The Blue Jackets received a pair of conditional picks in return. A few weeks later, on March 12, 2008, former Blue Jackets number-one draft pick Rick Nash was named the new team captain. Despite this, Columbus managed its best season record to date, staying above a .500 game wins average until the very last game of the season and finishing fourth in the Central Division with 80 points. After the season, Nash was announced as the cover player for the NHL 2K9 video game by Take-Two Interactive.

At the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, the Blue Jackets selected Nikita Filatov with the sixth overall pick. They also traded away the 19th overall pick (acquired from the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for Adam Foote) for R.J. Umberger.

The Blue Jackets made many trades in the 2008 off season. Gilbert Brule was traded to the Edmonton Oilers for Raffi Torres. Enigmatic forward Nikolai Zherdev and Dan Fritsche were traded to the New York Rangers in exchange for defensemen Fedor Tyutin and Christian Backman. The Blue Jackets also signed free agents Kristian Huselius and Mike Commodore to multi-year contracts.

On July 9, 2008, the Blue Jackets announced they signed Hitchcock to a three-year extension to remain as head coach.

On August 22, 2008, the Johnstown Chiefs were announced as the new ECHL affiliate for the Blue Jackets, as well as their AHL affiliate, the Syracuse Crunch.

During the 2008–09 NHL season, the Blue Jackets made two trades which greatly played to their benefit. Forward Jason Williams was acquired from the Atlanta Thrashers in exchange for defenseman Clay Wilson and a sixth-round draft pick. The Blue Jackets were also involved with the first major deal of the 2009 NHL Trade Deadline, by trading goaltender Pascal Leclaire and a second-round draft pick to the Ottawa Senators for skilled center Antoine Vermette. The changes in scenery benefited both players and the Jackets; Williams scored 28 points in his first 36 games as a Jacket, while Vermette scored 11 points in his first 14 games with the team.

On April 8, 2009, the Columbus Blue Jackets secured the first Stanley Cup Playoff berth in the franchise's nine-year history with a 4-3 shootout win over the Chicago Blackhawks.

Team information

Team name

The name "Blue Jackets" was chosen to celebrate "patriotism, pride, and the rich Civil War history in the state of Ohio and city of Columbus." When President Abraham Lincoln requested that Ohio raise ten regiments at the outbreak of the Civil War, the state responded by raising a total of 23 volunteer infantry regiments for three months of service. Ohio also produced a number of great Civil War figures, including William Tecumseh Sherman, Ulysses S. Grant, Philip Sheridan, and George Custer. Columbus itself was host to large military bases, Camp Chasemarker and Camp Thomas, which saw hundreds of thousands of Union soldiers and thousands of Confederate prisoners during the Civil War.


The team logo is a stylized version of the flag of Ohio. Previously used as an alternate logo, it became the primary logo as part of a Reebok-sponsored redesign for the 2007–08 season. The team's sweaters feature an alternate logo, a Civil War cap with crossed hockey sticks, on the shoulders.

"The Cannon"

Prior to the start of the 2007–08 season, at the behest of fans, the Blue Jackets organization brought a hand-made replica 1857 Napoleon cannon into Nationwide Arenamarker. The cannon is "fired" at home games whenever:

  • the Jackets take the ice at the start of the game
  • the Jackets score a goal
  • the Jackets win the game

The cannon itself is loaded with smoke flash charges; the loud "boom" accompanying is done with a .75oz concussion explosive above the rink. It was fired 164 times in its inaugural season (41 home games, 20 home victories, 103 goals scored at home). The title line of For Those About to Rock by AC/DC is played when the cannon is fired.


On FSN Ohio, Jeff Rimer serves as the television play-by-play announcer alongside former CBJ radio analyst Bill Davidge, who joined Rimer in 2009-10 replacing previous analyst Danny Gare. On radio stations WWCD, WBNS, and 21 other affiliates in Ohio, George Matthews provides play-by-play coverage, with analysis provided by former Syracuse Crunch radio broadcaster Bob McElligott. Matthews has been calling Blue Jackets games since the team's inception in 2000, while Rimer started calling games on television in 2005.

FSN Ohio, which broadcasts 75 games per season, airs pre-game and post-game shows ("Blue Jackets Live") for each game. Home pre-game shows are hosted by Jeff Hogan and Bill Davidge, with the post-game shows hosted by former Lake Erie Monsters play-by-play broadcaster John Michael; road pre- and post-game shows are hosted by Ray Crawford. In-game reporting is provided by Michael. The host of the radio pre- and post-game shows is Mark Wyant. Fans can interact by e-mail and phone with the radio personalties during and after the game.

Mascot and Logo

Stinger is the official Mascot of the Blue Jackets. Stinger is a 6 foot 9 inch bright green bug that walks amongst the crowd during the games and skates on the ice between periods while wearing a Blue Jackets' jersey. The image of Stinger was on the original Blue Jackets' jerseys. The Blue Jackets have since distanced themselves from Stinger, removing him entirely from the jerseys beginning in the 2005 season. The current logo of the Blue Jackets consists of the state of Ohio flag swirled around a star which is portrayed prominently on the Blue Jackets jersey.

Season-by-season record

Note: GP = Games played, W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, OTL = Overtime Losses, Pts = Points, GF = Goals for, GA = Goals against, PIM = Penalties in minutes

Records as of April 27, 2009.

Season GP W L T OTL PTS GF GA PIM Finish Playoffs
2004–05 Season canceled due to 2004–05 NHL lockout
2005–061 82 35 43 4 74 223 279 1416 3rd, Central Did not qualify
2006–07 82 33 42 7 73 201 249 1337 4th, Central Did not qualify
2007–08 82 34 36 12 80 193 218 1325 4th, Central Did not qualify
2008–09 82 41 31 10 92 226 230 1227 4th, Central Lost in Conference Quarterfinals, 0–4 (Red Wings)

1 As of the 2005–06 NHL season, all games tied after overtime are decided in a shootout; SOL (shootout losses) are recorded as OTL in the standings.


Current roster

Team captains

Honored members

John H McConnell

Hall of Famers

The Blue Jackets have not had any members of the Hockey Hall of Famemarker associated with their organization.

Retired numbers

The Blue Jackets have yet to retire any of their own numbers. However, Wayne Gretzky's number 99 was retired league-wide on February 6, 2000.

Franchise scoring leaders

These are the top-ten point-scorers in franchise history as of the 2008–09 NHL season.

Note: Pos = Position; GP = Games Played; G = Goals; A = Assists; Pts = Points; P/G = Points per game; * = current Blue Jackets player

Points Goals Assists
Player Pos GP G A Pts P/G
Rick Nash* LW 441 194 161 355 .80
David Vyborny C 543 113 204 317 .58
Nikolai Zherdev RW 283 76 105 181 .64
Geoff Sanderson LW 261 88 80 168 .72
Manny Malhotra C 344 53 92 145 .42
Ray Whitney LW 151 45 95 140 .93
Jason Chimera* LW 292 54 65 119 .41
Rostislav Klesla* D 444 36 79 115 .26
Sergei Fedorov C 185 39 74 113 .61
Espen Knutsen C 188 27 81 108 .57
Player Pos G
Rick Nash* LW 194
David Vyborny C 113
Geoff Sanderson LW 88
Nikolai Zherdev RW 76
Tyler Wright C 57
Jason Chimera* LW 54
Manny Malhotra C 53
Ray Whitney LW 45
Sergei Fedorov C 39
Fredrik Modin* LW 37
Player Pos A
David Vyborny C 204
Rick Nash* LW 161
Nikolai Zherdev RW 105
Ray Whitney LW 95
Manny Malhotra C 92
Espen Knutsen C 81
Geoff Sanderson LW 80
Rostislav Klesla* D 79
Sergei Fedorov C 74
Andrew Cassels C 68

NHL awards and trophies

Rocket Richard Trophy Calder Memorial Trophy NHL Foundation Player Award

Single-season records

See also:

See also


External links

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