If you follow 614 Mom on Instagram you know that I recently took my family to their first hockey game! I’ve always been a huge fan of the Columbus Blue Jackets (I used to have season tickets and never missed a game) so I was very excited to take them to their first game! I came prepared to do all the things - get the cotton candy, buy the souvenirs that they would inevitably want, and simply enjoy a fun night of hockey with my family.
My son had actually just signed up for the Blue Jackets Learn to Play program that same day, during his weekly skating lesson, so he was really excited to see a real life hockey game. If your child would be interested in learning to play - I highly recommend checking it out. It’s a great learning opportunity for them and is easy on the budget. Anyways - back to their first Blue Jackets game.
My husband and I decided to keep it a complete secret - they knew we were going somewhere but they had no idea where. After we parked at the Nationwide Arena Parking Garage we headed towards dinner. On our walk we shared with them our plans and they literally jumped up and down with excitement. It was seriously the cutest thing.
We grabbed dinner at Buca di Beppo which is right next door to the arena which made it easy and convenient. Buca is home to one of my favorite salads in town - the Apple Gorgonzola Salad. Buca was, as always, a great place to kick off the night. We were able to fill the little tummies and not feel rushed as we walked over to the game.
During our experience I came up with a list of tips so that when you take your kids to their first (or 100th) Blue Jackets Game you can go prepared and make the whole experience something for everyone to remember for a lifetime.
8 Tips For Taking Your Kids To Their First Blue Jackets Game
Grab dinner beforehand. This helps limit the amount of lines you’re in and allows you more time in your seats to enjoy the game. I recommend Buca di Beppo or Boston’s. If you don’t have time to get food before, there are plenty of options inside the arena for yummy food.
Pregame Warmups: 6:30 p.m. or 7 p.m. or half hour before puck drop. Arrive early enough to watch from ice level where you can hold your homemade signs and maybe even catch a puck that a player may flip over the glass.
Order team apparel ahead of time by visiting the Blue Line online store.
If it’s your child’s first game you can visit the desk next to the Blue Line store for a commemorative hockey puck with their name written on it. This was really special for my three. I highly recommend making time for this.
Let the kids play - The IGS Energy Zone (located on main concourse near sections 108-109) features family-friendly activities such as a floor hockey rink where kids can play, interactive games for fans of all ages and a photo station where fans can take home a keepsake from the game.
Be ready to answer a lot of questions. Read up on your hockey knowledge before you go :)
The Cannon: Nationwide Arena, the centerpiece of Columbus’ Arena District, is home for the Jackets where its fan experience consistently ranks among the best in the NHL and a cannon is a featured attraction. The Jackets’ game presentation includes a replica 1857 Napoleon field cannon that fires each time the home team scores a goal and takes the ice to start the game. The cannon is beloved by locals and despised by visitors (players, media, fans) who hate it for surprising them and the fact that it triggers a CBJ goal celebration. Fans line up before the game and during intermissions to get their photos taken at the cannon or with members of its Cannon Crew.
Don’t leave early. I know with little kids and traffic sometimes it makes sense to leave just a few minutes early but let me tell you watching the Blue Jackets win is powerful and the room is filled with so much energy. You don’t want to miss that. Traffic is handled really well in my experience.