Last Saturday I was lucky enough to travel to Columbus, Ohio to see my Chicago Blackhawks take on the Columbus Blue Jackets, who after much debate are still an NHL team. (The Blackhawks would win the game 6-1.)
The Blackhawks had just ended a nine game losing streak the previous Thursday, beating the New York Rangers. During that losing streak, the ‘Hawk fanbase was worked up into an annoyed craze, which brought some good, constructive ideas forth as well as some very bad ones.
Blackhawks fans did have some right to be angry, but my trip to Columbus made me realize just how spoiled ‘Hawk fans really are.
If you’re a Blue Jackets fan you’ve never been used to see your team winning. The Jackets have been in the league since 2000 and only once have they made the playoffs; and even then, they were swept in the first round by the Detroit Red Wings.
This season hasn’t been any fun for them either.
The Blue Jackets sit dead last in the NHL with a 17-35-5 record. The one player that made Columbus dangerous in previous years, Rick Nash, now looks s if he’s just going through the motions, and fans have begun to notice. Countless times, while at the game, I heard Blue Jacket fans cursing at Nash to do something and to get his “head out of his a**.” One fan even called him “the worst captain in the NHL.”
It says a lot when a fan base turns on the best player they’ve ever had as a franchise.
NHL fans at large have thrown a lot of jokes at Columbus because they’re so terrible, but after seeing their fans first-hand I kind of feel sorry for them. It feels as if we’re just beating a dead horse by continuing to make fun of them.
Yes, the Blue Jackets are terrible, but I remember when only 7,000 people went to the Blackhawks games. The truth of the matter is any team could possibly only be a few years from turning the franchise around.
Instead of making fun of them, respect the fans who are dedicated enough to keep their season tickets, because everyone knows being a fan means being a fan through both the good and bad times.
Criticism should come towards a fan base only when they start acting as if they’re the greatest and haven’t won anything. *Cough* Vancouver *Cough*.