This weekend Columbus will host the NHL All-Star Game. Already you see signs around town welcoming the players, coaches, fans, and other folks who are coming to town for the Game and the festivities — like these signs found at one of the hotels on Capitol Square in downtown Columbus.
Unfortunately, Columbus’s home team, the Blue Jackets, have been struggling this year. Their fans will tell you it’s because they’ve been wracked with injuries. After the CBJ closed with a rush last year, made the playoffs, and won a few games before falling to the Pittsburgh Penguins, the hockey diehards hoped that the Jackets would get off to a fast start and the All-Star Game then would help to cement enthusiasm for the Winter Game in Ohio’s capital city. Things haven’t quite worked out that way.
Still, it’s a great thing to have people from all over gather in Columbus for a weekend, and the Arena District, where the All-Star Game will be played, is an area that shows off Columbus very well. I would say that I hope that the weather cooperates — but I’m not sure what kind of weather hockey aficionados want, anyway. Maybe a winter snowstorm and frigid temperatures that would be unwelcome to most of us would just make the rinksters feel like dropping the puck and crashing the boards.
One other thing about hockey players: unlike NFL stars, basketball players, and for that matter participants in the annual Arnold Sports Classic, hockey players are normal-sized. When you run into them around town they also seem to be friendly, polite, hard-working guys. They’ll fit right in in Columbus, a generally friendly, polite, hard-working town.