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Game TBD: Ducks at Blue Jackets

14 November 2009 No Comment

It was a day of temporary departure times. Hawkeyes Bryon and I were driving to Columbus, Ohio for the Iowa and Ohio St. Saturday afternoon. However, we were debating on when to leave. The drive takes six hours from Chicago and with a one hour time change we would arrive seven hours after we left.

Bryon had to work on Friday and had said he could not leave until 5 pm. He wanted to leave Friday so we would be in Columbus early even though kickoff was at 3:30 pm. With possible (probably guaranteed) Chicago traffic, I was hesitant to leave at 5 pm because it could take us a few hours just to get out of Chicago. Plus I prefer not to leave Nicole for an extra evening if it is unnecessary. Thus, I was still debating on whether to leave Friday night or very early Saturday morning.

However, I would leave Friday if Bryon could get out of work earlier and he mentioned it was a possibility so I had determined two sporting events we could attend Friday night based on our departure time:

1) If we left before noon, we could attend the 7:00 pm Columbus Blue Jackets game versus the Anaheim Ducks in Columbus (six hour drive plus one hour time change).
2) If we left before 4 pm, we could attend the 7:00 pm Purdue Men’s Basketball game versus Cal State Northridge in West Lafayette, IN (2 hour drive plus one hour time change) assuming we did not have traffic leaving that late.
3) If we left after 4 pm, we could stay in Chicago, avoid traffic and attend either the Chicago Blackhawks game (7:30 pm start time) or Northwestern Men’s Basketball game in Evanston (7:00 pm start time) or hang out at home. We could then leave after the game to avoid traffic or leave early Saturday morning.

Friday morning, Hawkeyes Bryon said he could leave early and that I should pick him up in downtown Chicago around 11:00 am. That meant we would arrive Columbus about an hour before the Blue Jackets game was to begin.

We arrived in Columbus at 6:00 pm – one hour before the Blue Jackets game was scheduled to begin. We checked into the Red Roof Inn downtown which was a three block walk from Nationwide Arena.

Obtaining Tickets
Tickets outside Nationwide Arena are generally easy to purchase for less than face value. I went through my usual steps of buying tickets:

1) I checked to see what the cheapest seat was at the box office. Their response was $36. The cheapest seat the Blue Jackets sell is $10.
2) I waited a couple of minutes to see if a fan had an extra ticket.
3) I went to talk to a couple of ticket brokers rather than continue to wait for a fan that might have free tickets. I offered the scalper $10 each for tickets that had a face value of $20. At first he countered my offered with $20 each, then $15 each. I decided to walk away. As I was walking away he accepted my $10 offer.

Pre Game
After buying tickets, I met Bryon at O’Shaughnessy’s Public House – a few steps from Nationwide Arena. O’Shaughnessy’s had a 24 ounce can daily special for $4.50.

The Game
For the second time this week, the NHL game I attended went to a shootout. This time the Columbus Blue Jackets beat the Anaheim Ducks 3-2 after winning the shootout 2-0.

Nationwide Arena
In 2009, ESPN The Magazine’s Ultimate Standings determined Nationwide Arena was the ninth best stadium experience out of all four major sports (122 teams in MLB, NBA, NFL and NHL). There were a few differences I noticed about Nationwide Arena than other hockey venues.

First, the net that protects fans behind the goal was about 1/3 as high as it is at the United Center and other arenas. I’m not sure why other arenas cannot figure out how to have lower nets behind the goal.
Second, the Blue Jackets do not use Ice Crew Girls. Rather they had men in sweatshirts cleaning the ice in between play.
Third, Nationwide Arena sold 24 ounce beers – bigger than most arenas.
Fourth, those beers were not poured into plastic cups. Rather they handed over the can! I believe no other venue hands fans a can fearing fans will throw the cans on the playing service or at another fan.
Fifth, if you are interested in eating food only found in Ohio (and they have expanded to parts of Kentucky, Indianapolis and Florida) then stop by the Skyline Chili concession stand. You may not like it at first but it is an Ohio delicacy.

Post Game Dining
After the game, we met other Iowa fans at Barley’s Brewing Company located at 467 N. High St. for dinner. Then we headed to Bar Louie Tavern & Grill before heading to bed for our early morning.

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