Next to the state of Ohio, the most Columbus Blue Jackets fans reside in Tampere, Finland, the birthplace and former stomping grounds of CBJ star Patrik Laine. Not only was Patrik born and raised in Tampere he also played professionally for his favorite hometown team Tappara which competes in the top league in Finland, Liiga. Patrik is no short of rockstar status in Tampere, as he made his professional debut at the age of 16, and represented Finland in IIHF tournaments.
A local legend, Laine was sought out as one of the best Finnish prospects ever. His jersey is even in Finlands Hockey Museum.
And if you thought I was kidding about rockstar status, look at all of the locals who come out to Nokia Arena just to watch Laine practice.
Another Finnish legend returns to his home country for the global series, Joonas Korpisalo. Even though Korpi isn’t from Tampere and doesn’t have that celebrity status that Laine does, he grew up in Pori, Finland which is only an hour and a half from Tampere. Korpi, who is coming back from injury looks to start game 2 in his native land where he also used to play for Ilves and Jokerit in Liiga.
Plenty of Fins will make the trip to see Korpi as well as Laine as he also represented Finland between the pipes in many hockey tournaments.
In their short trip, both Finnish natives gave back to the community as they went to a local children’s hospital meeting up with kids and making their dreams come true.
The Blue Jackets take on one of the best teams in the NHL, the Colorado Avalanche in this two-game Global Series.
CBJ has had a bad stretch as of late but has had plenty of time to figure out what is missing and a lot of time to really look at themselves and reflect.
As they announce the starting lines you might notice Nick Blankenburg is back in the lineup looking to give a spark in this defense, also Elvis is starting in the net leaving countryman Joonas Korpisalo on the bench still looking to make his NHL season debut.
So far in the season, there has not been much to be excited about, but given this once in a lifetime opportunity to play in this event has to give them something to play for and hopefully will turn their season around for the best.
Also, Laine always dresses to impress no matter where he is.