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Thread: Hockey 2007-2008

  1. #131
    That's all folks! Unklescott's Avatar
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    John McConnell, owner of Columbus Blue Jackets, dies at age 84

    Mr. Mac will be missed here in Columbus. He was a great philanthropist who gave so much to this town. I know several people who worked for Worthington Industries and they all spoke very highly of him. He treated his employees well. R.I.P. Mr. Mac.
    The Canadian Press: John McConnell, owner of Columbus Blue Jackets, dies at age 84
    COLUMBUS, Ohio — John H. McConnell, a steel magnate who was the majority owner of the Columbus Blue Jackets, died Friday. He was 84.

    McConnell, who had been diagnosed with cancer last year, died at a Columbus hospital, said Cathy Lyttle, a spokeswoman with Worthington Industries, a US$3 billion-a-year steel processing company that McConnell started in 1955 with $600 he borrowed against his car.

    McConnell brought major professional sports to Columbus when he led a group of investors that acquired an NHL expansion team that began play as the Blue Jackets in 2000.

    He called the team his gift to the city.

    "Columbus has been good for me. I think this is good for Columbus," McConnell said when Nationwide Arena opened in 2000.

    "I just think Columbus is a good sports town. They need athletics."

    He was also an early investor in Major League Soccer's Columbus Crew franchise and a former minority owner of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

    The Blue Jackets, now seven years in, are the only NHL franchise that has yet to make the playoffs. It was something McConnell had often said he couldn't wait to see.

    "It's been a tough day for everybody here," Blue Jackets general manager Scott Howson said.

    McConnell wasn't around the team much toward the end of last season because of his health, but he did attend the Blue Jackets' last game on April 6, Howson said.

    "The players liked him," he said. "I think they saw him more as a father figure and a friend rather than an owner. It was a privilege to work for him."

    McConnell was born May 10, 1923, in Pughtown, W.Va.

    After serving three years with the Navy on the aircraft carrier Saratoga during World War II, he graduated with a degree in business administration from Michigan State in 1949.

    In 1954, a steel company put McConnell in Columbus as a salesman. After realizing how much money he was making for his employers, he decided to put a phone in his basement and start his own company.

    "My dad said, 'Don't do it,"' McConnell told The Columbus Dispatch for a story in 2000. "He said, 'What happens if you go broke?' I said, 'Well, I don't have anything to start with, so what am I going to lose?"

    McConnell started Worthington Industries a year later by borrowing money against his 1952 Oldsmobile. The company now employs about 8,000 people, with 69 facilities in 11 countries.

    McConnell's son, John P. McConnell, became chairman and chief executive in 1996 while McConnell became chairman emeritus.

    As the NHL looked to expand in the late 1990s, the original owner of the Blue Jackets was supposed to be the late Texas oil magnate Lamar Hunt, who owned the Crew. But Hunt blanched on funding an arena after voters turned down three ballot proposals that would have provided public financing.

    McConnell stepped up with a new ownership group while Columbus-based Nationwide Insurance put together a plan to privately finance an arena.

    An ugly court fight followed when Hunt alleged he was elbowed out of the ownership group. McConnell, who ended up winning the lawsuit, said he did it as a matter of civic pride. He ended up committing $120 million to building the franchise.

    Nationwide Insurance stepped in to construct a 19,500-seat, glass-and-brick arena downtown, with spectacular views of the skyline and a rejuvenated business district.

    Unlike many owners, "Mr. Mac" as he was called by his coaches and players, was idolized by fans who filled Nationwide Arena to capacity to watch the Blue Jackets.

    On opening night, Oct. 9, 2000, McConnell received a standing ovation that lasted nearly a minute when he slowly moved to centre ice on a blue carpet - ever present cane in hand - to drop the first puck along with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman.

    The first Blue Jackets team was among the most successful NHL expansion teams in history, winning 28 games and collecting 71 points.

    McConnell had made a friendly wager with Bettman that the Blue Jackets would be better than anyone thought - and he won the bet.

    "I used to tell them: 'You don't have to win all the games. We know that. As long as you do your best out there, why, we're happy with you.' And that's what they did," McConnell said.

    The next year's team, beset by injuries, was a major disappointment. At the team's last home game, McConnell appeared in a video in which he thanked the fans for selling out the entire the season, apologized for the poor record and promised a brighter future.

    "You did your job; I'm not sure we did ours," McConnell said. "I guarantee you next year we'll do better. That's a guarantee."

    McConnell was also a noted philanthropist. He is the founder of the McConnell Heart Health Center at Riverside Methodist Hospital.

  2. #132
    Badger Hockey Fan twilite's Avatar
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    Re: Hockey 2007-2008

    Yeah, I saw that too. My condolences go out to his family and all the people whose lives he touched.

  3. #133
    Who Dat lildago's Avatar
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    Re: Hockey 2007-2008

    RIP Mr. Mac.

    I have to say that I'm excited over my Stars' win over the Sharks last night. Great playoff hockey! Turco's athleticism is amazing! Of course, the guy walks on water as far as I'm concerned. Looking past this series to the Western Conference Championship(fingers crossed), I find myself cheering on the Avs for the first time ever. I'd prefer the Red Wings be watching on their flat screens from their sofas.
    Getting lost will help you find yourself.

  4. #134
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    Re: Hockey 2007-2008

    Quote Originally Posted by lildago;2949225;
    RIP Mr. Mac.

    I have to say that I'm excited over my Stars' win over the Sharks last night. Great playoff hockey! Turco's athleticism is amazing! Of course, the guy walks on water as far as I'm concerned. Looking past this series to the Western Conference Championship(fingers crossed), I find myself cheering on the Avs for the first time ever. I'd prefer the Red Wings be watching on their flat screens from their sofas.
    As long as that water is frozen, he walks on it just fine!

  5. #135
    Badger Hockey Fan twilite's Avatar
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    Re: Hockey 2007-2008

    Is it just me, or have most of the second round matchups been pretty one-sided? We have three of the four series sitting at 3-0. I'm perfectly happy with my Wings up three-naught, but what about the other teams? Have the games been closely matched, with the bounces and luck just going one team's way (from what I've seen of the Rangers/Pens games, I think it's this for that series), or is one team clearly being outplayed? What do you guys think?

  6. #136
    Yoffy lifts a finger... fluff's Avatar
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    Re: Hockey 2007-2008

    I think the Pens/Rangers games that I've seen have been very entertaining. I didn't see the second one as it was an afternoon game, but games one and three had points where they could have gone either way.
    The Pens have been very entertaining to watch and I don't want to say the series score so far is flattering them, but I think it could have been closer at this point than 3-0.

    I hope I don't jinx lil's Stars by saying I'm really enjoying their games and would be pretty ecstatic if they won the cup this season.
    Last edited by fluff; 04-30-2008 at 12:00 PM.
    "That's Numberwang!"

  7. #137
    It's sensei time! Masai & Pygmie's Avatar
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    Re: Hockey 2007-2008

    Had a brainfart and finally remembered my password and email address...

    Marching Penguin's looking good. Stars too. This matchup would be different.
    "Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake." -- Henry David Thoreau

  8. #138
    FORT Fogey
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    Re: Hockey 2007-2008

    What are you talking about? Hockey season ended over a week ago!

    No, wait. That was DUCK SEASON that ended!

  9. #139
    That's all folks! Unklescott's Avatar
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    Re: Hockey 2007-2008

    Quote Originally Posted by PugMum;2960133;
    What are you talking about? Hockey season ended over a week ago!

    No, wait. That was DUCK SEASON that ended!


  10. #140
    Who Dat lildago's Avatar
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    Re: Hockey 2007-2008

    Quote Originally Posted by fluff;2959842;

    I hope I don't jinx lil's Stars by saying I'm really enjoying their games and would be pretty ecstatic if they won the cup this season.
    This series with the Sharks has been especially exciting!
    Getting lost will help you find yourself.

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