With the NHL in the midst of a work stoppage, Columbus fans need some pro hockey to help fill the void. In terms of actually going to pro games, Columbus fans can make the trek to Cleveland, Cincinnati or Dayton to catch a game. To go along with the geographical fix, Columbus fans can throw their support behind the Jackets' AHL farm team- the Springfield Falcons. To go a step further, we can all cheer for the new Evansville Icemen to have success in their first year as the ECHL affiliate of the Jackets.
Need more? Want an outside-of-the-box team to cheer for while the NHL remains locked out?
Why not Alaska?
Yes, the Alaska Aces of the ECHL. There are a few reasons why a Columbus fan would want to throw their support behind a minor pro team about as far away from Ohio as possible:
1- The easy part- Alaska native and new Blue Jacket Brandon Dubinsky is playing in his home state while he waits for the lockout negotiations to come to a resolution. He has a tryout agreement with the Aces.
2- The Aces added two other NHLers to their roster for the duration of the lockout- Anchorage natives Joey Crabb and Nate Thompson. Scott Gomez, another NHLer from Alaska, was released at the end of training camp because he didn't intend on actually playing any games for the Aces.
3- They have a killer logo.
4- They were ECHL champions in 2006 and 2011.
5- The Aces' mascot is named BOOMER. Need I say more?
The Aces have played one regular season game thus far, defeating the Colorado Eagles 6-3. Dubi finished with a single helper. It's great to see him get some game action, joining Columbus teammates Nikita Nikitin, Sergei Bobrovsky and Artem Anisimov (all playing in the KHL during the lockout).
As I said, there are some great pro hockey options in Ohio, and a Columbus fan can always get behind the Falcons and Icemen. Let's just take this opportunity to throw some of our fan support behind the Aces, because, why the hell not?