Following the 2015 All Star Game in Columbus, the reviews came in and came in fast: Columbus is a hockey town and can put on quite the show.
However, since then, the city has hosted nothing more NHL-related outside of normal regular-season contests. And while, sure, there isn't a ton on the NHL calendar outside of the 82-game season (41 home games), there's still things that could happen. Maybe another All-Star Game isn't in the near future, and it's been just about a decade since Nationwide hosted the NHL Draft in 2007. But, there's a biiiiiig thing the NHL does every year now that the Blue Jackets find themselves consistently on the outside looking in - outdoor hockey contests.
Yesterday, it became known that Citi Field is expected to be named the site of the 2018 Winter Classic, when the New York Rangers will supposedly take on the Buffalo Sabers. It'll be both team's third Winter Classic appearance and the first time New York City will play host. (Buffalo hosted the inaugural game back in 2008.)
So fine. Leave the Blue Jackets out of it again. That's alright. We don't need the NHL. We don't need to await the precious announcement to land in the lap of Jackets fans across this great land of ours. We'll do it ourselves.
That's right. This is my officially unofficial proposal for a Columbus Blue Jackets Stadium Series. Three games. Three locations. Three opportunities for the Jackets to play in the outdoors.
We'll begin down in Cincinnati - or, as someone in the comments of a Cannon Blasts earlier this week referred to it as "Cincitucky," where the Jackets will take on the Nashville Predators at Great American Ballpark. A matchup of former Central Division foes, a matchup for those who live not just in southern Ohio, but also northern Kentucky (hell, even as far as Lexington and Louisville, where the Predators have as strong a hold on hockey fans in the Bluegrass than any other team).
Then, the show will move upwards to Cleveland for a game at Progressive Field between Columbus and Buffalo. A flashy matchup? Eh, not really. But again, it should be a matchup that'll bring a couple of fan bases together for a jolly good ol' time.
Finally, we'll wrap up our tour, where else, but the Horseshoe for a game against the Rangers. THAT'S RIGHT. I WENT WITH THE RANGERS. It could honestly be anyone. Give me Pittsburgh. Give me Washington. Screw it, give me Minnesota or Dallas or Vancouver for all I care. The point is, the Jackets need to play in the Horseshoe, and Jackets fans need to show up for it. It'll be awesome. It'll be epic. It needs to happen.
So, there you have it. If the NHL won't do it, we can do it our own selves. Three games. Three cities. One bloody good time.