The Columbus Blue Jackets, established in 2000, are a professional ice hockey team that are current members of the Western Conference, Central Division of the NHL. Located in Columbus, Ohio, the team plays their home games at Nationwide Arena. Ohio experienced a 22 year NHL hockey drought after the Cleveland Barons departed in 1978. Entering into an expansion bid in 1997 lined with promises of a new stadium, Columbus was awarded the team later that year. The teamï¿½s title and logos were inspired by the stateï¿½s Civil War history. In 2000, with all draft picks completed, the Blue Jackets took to the ice. Losing their first game to the Chicago Blackhawks, the Blue Jackets finished the overall season with a cheerless 28ï¿½39ï¿½9ï¿½6.
In 2002 the team started off the season on a high, coarsely buzzing on the ice and racking up the goals. Fans spirits were lifted and Columbus Blue Jackets tickets were in great demand, lo if only temporarily. Unfortunately after their brief uptick, the Central Division Blue Jackets returned to their spotty level of play, deflating fan hopes in the process. In a bid to capture their fan base, the franchise brought a hand-made reproduction of a late 19th century cannon into the arena, firing it whenever the team hits the ice at the start of a game, score a goal or win the match. In a division of hard hitters, the Blue Jackets may not seem like they pose much of a threat, but that doesnï¿½t mean that their rivalries arenï¿½t intense ï¿½ after all, it is hockey. Facing off squarely against their divisional foes the Nashville Predators, St. Louis Blues, Chicago Blackhawks and Detroit Red Wings, the team sees their competition eye to eye. A decade into their career, the Columbus Blue Jackets had yet to take home a conference or division championship title, much less breathe on the coveted Stanley Cup. Who knows what the future holds when the Blue Jackets finally get on the path to tucking more experience under their helmets.