The race to the MLB post season, pre-season football, and the start of the English Premier League; all signs to hockey fans that the NHL season is fast approaching. For Blue Jackets fans, one further reminder that it is almost hockey season is the fan-organized CannonFest.
For the fourth year in a row, Blue Jackets fans converged upon Buffalo Wild Wings to celebrate the previous season and to look forward to the 2013-14 campaign. The event has become so popular with fans, the event had to be moved to the Buffalo Wild Wings in Bethel Centre to accommodate the large crowd.
Those attending were treated to wings, raffles, a display of game worn CBJ jerseys, several fan made videos (including the yearly highlight video from Tom Larrow), CBJ mascot Stinger, and speeches from Blue Jackets fans. The highlight of the night for every fan was a surprise visit from Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen, who expressed his gratitude for the fans support and spoke about the upcoming season.
— Jarmo Kekalainen (@jkekalainen) August 18, 2013
From the sounds of it, the front office is just as anxious for hockey season to start as the fans are. In addition, through the raffles and donations from fans, the event helped raise $1,500 for the CBJ Foundation.
This was my first CannonFest and my immediate reaction is that it was well worth the trip from Cleveland. The amazing thing about CannonFest is that it is 100% fan organized. While the Blue Jackets lend their support, it is for the fans, by the fans. The event is also a great way to meet other Jackets fans, as well as get to know the people you interact with on twitter daily. It was great to connect with some of the other Blue Jackets bloggers, meet Jarmo Kekalainen, and sit down with the DKM Hockey podcast. *Speaking of DKM, they recorded a show during the event that will be out on Tuesday, so if you were unable to attend, give it a listen and feel like you were there!
We are a few weeks from training camp, but CannonFest was a great way to kick off the 2013-14 season. Jackets fans are already fired up for CBJ hockey to return and Nationwide Arena should be rocking opening night!
*UPDATE: The DKM Hockey Podcast recorded live at Cannonfest is now up! Give it a listen here!