This is what its all about...

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This is what its all about...
I rant and rumble on about hockey and the Jackets day in a day out and go through the greens, yellows and reds but then you read something like what Aaron Portzline posted today in the Puck-rakers blog and you think, this is really what its all about -- a snippet:

After yesterday's practice in Nationwide Arena, four players -- Rick Nash, Jason Chimera, Jared Boll and Freddy Modin -- walked down the hallway from the dressing room and into a room where dreams came true.

Flashes of Hope, a non-profit organization, hires photographers to take high-quality portraits of children fighting cancer and other life-threatening illnesses. The idea is to help kids deal with their changing appearances by celebrating it. For families with terminally ill children, it's a keepsake.

The parents, too. Judging by the scene outside the makeshift photo gallery, there were lots of happy moms and dads.

The kids love Jared Boll, the tough guy. They're blown away by Modin's towering size. They relate very well to Chimera, an overgrown kid with a similarly bald head.

"And then Rick walks in the room," Modin said, "and the kids go crazy."

Now that is making a difference.

...and Greg absolutely nailed it with his follow up comment:

This is an excellent example of what it means to be a positive role model in childrens' lives (take note Pacman, Vick and the Bengals). You rarely hear about the great things hockey players do for their communities, whether it be in Columbus or elsewhere. It is always the athletes in the negative light. Bettman and the NHL, you want the sport to grow? Take note of our boys in Columbus. They are shining examples of positive role models.

These guys have, from day one, gotten involved in the community, with the children, and have had an overall major impact upon the city. The really sad part is a lot of people do not recognize it. Naturally, if you are reading AP's blog, you know the things our Jackets do for the kids and around the city. I am speaking in general terms here.

Being born and raised in the great city of Columbus, I know that sometime immediately after birth the scarlet and grey was transfused into my blood, like most everyone else here. And I love my Buckeyes, don't get me wrong. However, the Buckeyes are a transitional team, and they always will be. Where will Beanie be after our bowl game? How about Laurinitis? The same place all these guys go after their senior year. Our Jackets will still be here (a few new faces from season to season), but this is our team! Win or lose, this is our team.

I just wanted to say thank you to these guys for everything that they do. Flashes of Hope, Hats for Heroes, building of the parks for our communities, and bringing the sport of hockey to a grander stage. Keep up the great work... on and off the ice!

Well said Gregg!

We all want to win and see hockey and the Jackets grow and thrive in this town....but every once in a while its good to take a step back, look at the big picture and realize just how lucky we are to have a pro franchise in our own backyard.

Unfortunately to many times the great things a sports franchise like the Jackets brings to the community away from the spotlight gets lost in the shuffle even when they are some of the things that touch people the most.

I think now what would this town be like without the Arena District? What about everything the Jackets have done for the Children's Hospital for instance? Then there is Hats for Heroes, the jobs they've created, the foundations, the events they've attracted, the book readings, the signings, the parks built, the taking the time to talk to some hockey nerd blogger (a.k.a. me) or remembering to call a local firefighter who retired after 30 years to wish him luck... the list goes on and on and on. Its a big big deal.

Bravo Jackets! Keep up the fantastic work as we all really do appreciate your efforts....and boy its got to be a special feeling to be able to light up some of those kid's faces.

-LTL
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