Mandatory Credit: Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports

CBJ FANSided Friday - Brett Ireland

Welcome to the third edition of CBJ FANSided Friday! In this series we will post a short interview with a fan from the Blue Jackets community and ask them about their Jackets fandom.

Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

This week I had the opportunity to interview a fellow Clevelander and Jackets fan, Brett Ireland. Brett has been featured as a guest on the DKM Hockey Podcast, writes for Full Mental Jackets, and can be followed on twitter at @RockmanHalo . His “Game In One Picture” series at FMJ provides a unique and humorous look at each Blue Jackets game.

U&B: First off, how and when did you become a Blue Jackets fan?


I became a Jackets fan my freshman year of college (Fall of 2009). I was always a passive, casual hockey fan…I went to a few Monsters games every now and then but didn’t really follow the sport. Once I met my best friend (then just a roommate) though, we really pushed the game on each other. It didn’t take long for me to get into the NHL, and being the supreme patriot I am, I took the honorable and just choice in following the CBJ. What kind of Ohioan roots outside of the state? Not this one. Not now. Not ever.

U&B: Tell us a little about the Full Mental Jackets blog as well as the Game In One Picture series you started.


Greg started Full Mental Jackets as a place to put his periodic thoughts on the Jackets up. The dude runs multiple restaurants and is a generally a busy guy, so FMJ wasn’t meant to be a place for daily X’s and O’s but a cork-board for his thoughts on certain topics every now and then.
The Game in One Picture series started under that motto too: Greg asked me to join FMJ and I thought, “I’m not able to see the game like others do. How can I add something?” I decided to fill a niche that was missing in the game-by-game recaps: funny pictures. I spent a lot of time following sports on 4chan, so pictures are an important part of fan-to-fan sports talk to me. I want to create something people can laugh at and also get some semi-serious commentary as well.
U&B: Who is your favorite CBJ player of all time / current player? Why?
It’s hard to pick an “all-time” favorite Blue Jacket based on 3 and a half seasons of following ‘em but I remember getting excited as a kid hearing the name “Federov”. As for my current favorite? It’s a toss up between Cam Atkinson and Sergei Bobrovsky. I love goalies, especially Russian ones but I love a good story as well, and the kind of walls Cam is breaking down never fails to bring a smile to my face.

U&B: How do you feel about the start to the season / where do you think the CBJ will finish this year?

2-2-1 Isn’t a good start. Sure, it’s technically over .500, but let’s be honest…we wanted more than 2 wins five games in. I’m happy our Six Million Dollar Man in Bob is playing well, but I’m worried about the offense. What happened to speed catching the east off guard? 5 games is hardly an appropriate judgement but right now it’s worrying. I’m expecting them to shape up and fight for one of those Wild Card spots, and perhaps place in the top 3 in the division. It’s possible, the Metro is looking pretty flaky so far.
U&B: What’s it like being a CBJ fan in Cleveland and how do you think the CBJ brand could grow here?
Being a CBJ fan in Cleveland is pretty lonely. Most people are either Wings, Flyers or Pens fans…the list goes on but it’s never the Blue Jackets. They don’t get any coverage and get bumped for poker and high school football so you have to fight to watch them on the local channels when you can.
I think the Jackets could do better to get a radio station to broadcast their games up here since that’s a decent first step. Recently they’ve shown their face in the north a bit more, but all in all, the best thing they can do for the brand is WIN. All of the eastern team’s fans get to see the CBJ more often now, and if they kick the ever-loving s–t out of them then the brand image can only get better!
Everyone at the Union and Blue would like to thank Brett for taking the time to answering our questions! As a fellow Clevelander I know it can be difficult to feel like a part of the Jackets family, but support for the CBJ is really starting to grow in CLE, one fan at a time. Be sure to give Brett a follow on Twitter and check out the Game In One Picture recaps on Full Mental Jackets!


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