Last night, the Blue Jackets were able to snap a five-game losing streak after beating the Red Wings 3-2 in a shootout. The fans were able to celebrate at home for the first time in a while and there was a little bit more on the line for their efforts. While the Jackets were able to gain a little ground in the standings, their efforts to do something good for the community were rewarded in a big way.
Blue Jackets fan Tyler Schweinfurth was getting tired of seeing his team go through yet another January swoon and headed to Twitter to proclaim he’d put $20 “on the board” to charity if the team could snap their losing streak at home against the rival Red Wings. With the Internet being a powerful tool, other Jackets fans quickly jumped on board and soon enough the local media got wind of it and spread the word even more.
While this sort of money raising is a no-no in NHL clubhouses (just ask Leafs coach Ron Wilson about that) having fans do this for charity is more than OK and they pooled together $5,237 for last night’s game. If the Jackets won, the money would go to the Blue Jackets Foundation, if they lost it would go to a hunger shelter. What the fans may not have known is that the team took notice of their efforts in a big way and used it as motivation for the game.
After Antoine Vermette sealed the shootout win, the Blue Jackets had some surprise news for the “Money on the Board” efforts as Tom Reed of The Columbus Dispatch shares.
Alternate captain R.J. Umberger said the players were matching the fans’ sum and donating their portion to the Blue Jackets’ foundation.
“Their passion to win, especially against Detroit, is strong,” Umberger said. “We appreciated what they did for us and we’re going to do the same and let a charity enjoy it.
Not a bad night of hockey for the fans in Columbus to end up raising over $10,000 for charity. For all that’s been said about the hockey market in Columbus and how rough it’s been for the fans there since the team’s inception, this one moment is one hell of a way to put yourselves on the map.
For Tyler Schweinfurth and the rest of the dedicated Blue Jackets (and even some Red Wings) fans who took part in this impromptu community service means of motivation, bravo. When people get upset and jaded about how out of touch many professional athletes and teams seem to be, a moment like this out of the blue is truly an amazing thing to see.