Fans crowded into Nationwide Arena on Monday to watch a Blue Jackets scrimmage. The rare free event was meant to keep fans and players engaged as they wait to learn the team's next playoff opponent.
Jordan Hoffman has followed the Blue Jackets since their beginning, and he brought his three-year old son Reese to Monday's scrimmage. He says there is no comparison between previous years and this season, which marked the first time in franchise history the Blue Jackets advanced to the second round of playoffs.
“Every time we’ve gotten in, you’ve always had that hope, and this time, you finally see that hope being realized and seeing some results going forward too,” Hoffman said.
Diana Mamula, who's also been a fan since the team started, said being able to celebrate their success this year means a lot to her.
“My fiancé, who actually passed away two years ago, was a huge Blue Jackets fan, and this would've been everything to him,” Mamula said. “I used to come to the games with him all the time.”
Nine-year-old Rylie Allen and her 7-year-old sister Hayden came to Nationwide with their dad. They've cheered for the Blue Jackets for as long as they can remember.
“Since I was born,” Rylie said. “Me too, since I was born," Hayden added.
Other families also used the practice to introduce their kids to hockey.
The Blue Jackets take on the winner of the Toronto-Boston series. Game dates and times will be announced once the team is decided.