Bob McElligott is the correct and only choice to be the new play-by-play voice of the Columbus Blue Jackets

Given his long-standing ties to the market, community, and franchise; Bob McElligott is the only choice the Columbus Blue Jackets TV Affiliate should consider to replace the legendary Jeff Rimer in the 2024-2025 season.
Pittsburgh Penguins v Columbus Blue Jackets
Pittsburgh Penguins v Columbus Blue Jackets / Jason Mowry/GettyImages

It has been 20 years since the last time the Columbus Blue Jackets TV Affiliate had to make a change in its Play-By-Play analyst position, when the now-legendary Jeff Rimer replaced the original television voice of the Blue Jackets, Dan P. Kelly.

Jeff would end up going down as the voice of the Jackets for an entire generation of fans, including yours truly. I remember listening to Jeff and his broadcast partners over his first five years as the host.

I grew up with him, Bill Davidge, and Jody Shelley as the first long-time hosts of the hockey club in their history. Jeff especially had a significant impact on my love of hockey from a young age, and I can never thank him enough for helping me fall in love with this great game.

Jeff Rimer
Jeff and his wife Ferrel will always be welcome in Columbus. / Jason Mowry/GettyImages

Now that the season has died down, the Stanley Cup Playoffs are coming to a close soon, and we're still over a week away from the NHL Draft and Free Agency, a question has begun a discussion amongst Jackets fans: who should be the next television voice of the CBJ, following Rimer's retirement at the end of the 2023-2024 season?

To me, there's only one choice: longtime radio voice of the Jackets, Bob McElligott.

Bob has now been calling professional hockey for 25 years, as he started his career in the American Hockey League calling games for the Syracuse Crunch; who would become the primary minor league affiliate for the Columbus Blue Jackets in their first season in the league in the 2000-2001 season.

As a result, McElligott became one of the early voices of the franchise as he called games involving later franchise standouts like Jody Shelley, Pascal Leclaire, and Mathieu Darche. The Crunch would go on to several brief playoff runs in the first nine years of their existence flush with Blue Jackets prospects, even if they never made it out of the second round.

While Bob called other sports during this time, including college sports and minor league baseball in the north New York market, the call eventually came from the Blue Jackets in early 2009 that he did not refuse.

Bill Davidge was departing to be with the studio team with Fox Sports Ohio full-time, which opened up the Color Analyst position with CBJ Radio alongside the legendary George Matthews. "Bobby Mac," as he is affectionately known, became a quick hit with fans alongside the boisterous and exciting Mathews.

When Matthews left to depart for home to call games for the Charlottetown Islanders of the QMJHL, Bob took over play-by-pay duties for CBJ Radio in 2013, a position he has now maintained for 11 years.

He took the franchise through the first actual years of regular season success under John Tortorella, witnessed the franchise win their first playoff series during "The Sweep" in 2019, and has weathered the difficult last few years with a mix of realism and optimism that keeps him grounded with many fans.

I've enjoyed chatting with Bobby Mac several times and have listened to his radio calls for over a decade. Given his wealth of experience with the franchise, his stellar reputation and close relationship with long-time fans, and his love for the game, I don't believe there is any other reasonable choice for the next television host of the Columbus Blue Jackets.