The NHL, and more specifically the Blue Jackets, lost a great member of their family yesterday with the passing of John H. McConnell. As every Jacket fan knows, without Mr. Mac there are no Blue Jackets. The number of standing ovations he received pales in comparison to what he did for Columbus, though he would always shrug off the compliments. These are the types of things you can read in the Dispatch and elsewhere.
For my blog I can recount the one time I met Mr. McConnell.
It was March of 2001, the Jackets were working their way through their inaugural season and were in Tampa to play the Lightning. Wendy and I had timed a trip south to spend a week with my dad so we could take in a Jackets road game. When walking into the game, we happened to see John H. and his son John P. walking in to the arena. They weren't too close to us, but did see us and pointed at our jerseys and waved at us.
When we took our seats, we noticed that the visiting owners box was right at the top of our section. Between the first and second period, we walked up and Wendy said, "I have to say hi to Mr. McConnell." And so she did. She stopped and introduced herself, but as soon as she finished he thanked us for traveling "all this way" to see the Jackets on the road. He was genuinely happy to see fans of his team on the road, and proceeded to talk to my wife for a few more minutes. It was an amazing experience, and one that confirms all the things you've read or will read in the paper over coming days.
You will be missed, Mr. Mac.