Cam Atkinson is a hero to Columbus Blue Jackets fans tonight. You see, Nationwide Arena tickets for Game 6 didn’t go on sale until 5 p.m. Monday, but a group of diehards began gathering outside 24 hours earlier. They camped out and were still there through the rain this morning, waiting to buy their $40 tickets (egad!). The Fifth Line has had a
booming presence at home in Columbus’ first Stanley Cup playoff appearance since they were swept by the Detroit Red Wings in 2009. This year the Blue Jackets got their first win and their first home win – and has really impressed the hockey world with their dogged efforts against Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and the potent Penguins from Pittsburgh. And as the most dedicated Columbus hockey fans sat outside last night waiting for the box office to open, Atkinson’s girlfriend noticed what was happening at the arena on Twitter. She told Atkinson about the gathering and, well, he surprised them.
From the Columbus Dispatch:
Nine people were in line when Atkinson showed up with his dad to say hi to the fans at about 10 last night. He withdrew money from an ATM and gave each of the fans $40 for a ticket.
He also gave one of his practice sticks to Grant Flood, who was proudly displaying it this morning.
When Atkinson arrived, “we were all in a state of shock,” said Flood, 28, of Upper Arlington. In a still-budding market with all sorts of potential, that kind of connection at such an exciting part of the schedule will do wonders to spark a deeper passion. Hockey players continue to be awesome.
Follow Rory on Twitter