Columbus Blue Jackets hosts Public Relations Day


Rebecca Gaffney

The Odyssey skates on the rink at Nationwide Arena during Public Relations Day. This field trip was an experience for young journalists to learn how to work in the field.

Hailey Tessman (Junior), Reporter

On Jan. 19, the Columbus Blue Jackets (CBJ) invited journalism classes around central Ohio to their Public Relations Day, filled with ice skating, tours, and a panel of CBJ journalists. About 20 students from Westerville North, South and Central attended the event. 

   Alec Rivers, Group Event Specialist, showed Odyssey students around the facility, specifically showing them press locations behind the scenes. The schools were shown the press seats as well as the radio and TV recording rooms, which are all the way at the top of the arena for the best view. 

   Kat Kojis (11), a member of the Odyssey, has gone to Blue Jackets games for most of her life, and was finally able to tour the facility. 

   “There were a lot of stairs,” Kojis said. “Alec was very knowledgeable about the facilities, and there were lots of places for press opportunities. There was a place in the basement, as well as at the highest level in the arena.”

   Odyssey students skated on the main ice that the Jackets skate on. 

   Emma Blanchong (12), a member of the Odyssey, was there only for the skating experience, and had a great time. 

   “It was kind of terrifying at first, but overall a good new experience,” Blanchong said. “I started off very clumsy and very cautious, but towards the end, I was getting a lot more comfortable.”    

   After the tour, the schools were led back to the Below Lower Terrace, where they were heard from a panel from the journalism department of the CBJ. 

   This panel included Ben Jackson, the team photographer; Dave Maetzold, rink-side reporter; Jeff Svobado, team reporter/digital media; Todd Sharrock, Vice President of Communications. 

   The panel described their paths to becoming journalists, along with the ups and downs of their journeys. They opened it for questions, allowing for the young journalists to ask questions.

   Theodore Garrett (11), a member of the Odyssey, is a lifelong Blue Jackets fan and was the first to ask a question.

   “It was very informative, having all these experts in their fields talk about how they got to where they are now and they all had great insight on the media professions,” Garrett said. 

   After the panel concluded, the schools were released to go get dinner and hang out with their classmates. Along with being invited to the Public Relations Day, the students got tickets to the Blue Jackets game on the same day. 

  The Columbus Blue Jackets played the Anaheim Ducks, where they lost 5-3. The students were able to enjoy the game along with the Public Relations Day