How's this for some good news to start your weekend?
Jody Shelley, long time Blue Jackets' pugilist and perhaps the franchise's first "fan favorite", is coming home.
The Dispatch broke the news this morning via their Puck-Rakers blog, announcing that Shelley had made the decision to retire after 11 seasons in the NHL.
Jody met his wife here in Columbus, still owns a stake in the D1 Sports Training facility on Rt. 23 just north of town, and had always made it clear in interviews and discussions with fans that he planned to return to Columbus when he decided to hang up his skates.
It looks like he'll be taking on a mixed set of responsibilities for the team, including joining the club's radio broadcasts to provide color commentary and some possible TV work. He's also likely to be involved in community outreach work here in Columbus, continuing a legacy of charity work and community service that began when he broke into the Jackets' roster during their inaugural season as a free agent, and has continued at each stop of his professional career.
I cannot think of a player who generated so much good will and near-automatic fan love while wearing Union Blue, or who has continued to keep up a small but passionate local fan club after leaving. He's exactly the kind of person who will make an incredible ambassador to local buisnesses, charities, and potentially as a face of an alumni organization.
This is a great move by the club for practical and PR reasons. One of those "little things" that makes such a huge difference to fans.
Hello Jody. Welcome home.