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 g tickets. After playing the best hockey in franchise history down the stretch, the Columbus Blue Jackets have enjoyed an upsurg

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Winning makes everything easier, particularly selling tickets. After playing the best hockey in franchise history down the stretch, the Columbus Blue Jackets have enjoyed an upsurge at the box office in recent weeks. The team says it has seen a 13-per cent improvement in season-ticket renewals from one year ago, when the Blue Jackets were coming off perhaps their worst season in the NHL and sold around 7,000 season tickets. The team has sold almost 1,000 new season-ticket plans including fans who upgraded to larger packages. Its a major difference from when the club was a doormat -- especially for those charged with talking to the fan base and selling them tickets. "Theres no question a lot of the conversations are more pleasant than they were perhaps last year," Blue Jackets senior vice-president and chief marketing officer John Browne said with a laugh. "People are very emotional about it, very passionate about it. They want their opinion to be heard. Theres no question over the last few months as the team continued to play really well, those less-than-friendly conversations are far fewer than they were." Its been a remarkable turnaround. Those visiting the teams website at are now greeted by a picture of fans smiling while a scrum of players celebrate a goal. Emblazoned over the scene are the words, "The Best Is Yet To Come." After having far and away the worst record in the league during the 2011-12 season, the Blue Jackets came out of the owners lockout and were dead last in the league (5-12-2) again in late February. But then, spurred on by new acquisitions, wily veterans and up-and-coming players, they went on a 19-5-5 tear that tied them with Minnesota for eighth place in the Western Conference. They missed out on the playoffs in a tiebreaker. They drew a capacity crowd of 19,002 to their season finale at Nationwide Arena, welcomed more than 17,000 in each of the two home games before that, and finished the year averaging 14,562 in attendance. "The crowd was electric," centre Brandon Dubinsky said after the final game, a come-from-behind 3-1 win over Nashville. Dubinsky previously played for the New York Rangers and came over in the ballyhooed deal that shipped Rick Nash -- Columbus captain and the franchise record holder in almost every offensive category -- to the Big Apple last summer. The fans were caught up in the sudden reversal of fortune by the team. "They really appreciated the hard work that was put in and us proving everyone wrong. All the so-called experts picked us to finish dead last," defenceman Jack Johnson said after the season. "Its kind of the old, when someone says you cant do it youre determined to prove them wrong. Everyone around the city really appreciated it." Now the teams website also carries the prompt, "Next season starts today. Get the best seats now." Most of the team is expected back next season, including old hands R.J. Umberger and Fedor Tyutin, rising young stars Cam Atkinson and Matt Calvert and relatively recent acquisitions Marian Gaborik and Nick Foligno. The club also has three first-round picks in the June 30 amateur draft. Adding to the excitement is that the Blue Jackets (along with longtime nemesis Detroit) move to the Eastern Conference next season. That means less travel, easier access to broadcast road games for fans who have to work the next day and renewed interest in potential rivals. "We know from research that the NHL has done, in addition to Columbus Blue Jackets fans, eight of the top 10 teams that they identify with as other teams they follow are Eastern Conference teams," Browne said. So the first step was earning some respect by winning games. Now general manager Jarmo Kekalainen and director of hockey operations John Davidson must keep the fans engaged with a team that continues to be competitive. "I havent heard the building that loud," said forward Jared Boll, the Blue Jackets longest-tenured player, the next day after the season ended. "It just shows you these fans are really here to stay and they want a winning team." Cheap Sneakers Canada . Oaklands loss to Seattle clinched the ALs best record for the Red Sox with one day to spare in the regular season. "I think everybody was kind of watching," catcher David Ross said. "Demp (Ryan Dempster) came out before he went to the bullpen and was just yelling that they lost. Wholesale Sneakers Canada . -- The plastic that was taped across the lockers in Oaklands clubhouse came down and the champagne that was on ice went back into the cooler. . McPhee said that Ovechkins father Mikhail is in stable condition after having the surgery this week and is no longer in intensive care. "Weve told him to stay as long as necessary with your dad," he said. Ovechkin and his Russian national team were eliminated from the mens hockey tournament in Sochi on Wednesday with a 3-1 quarter-final loss to Finland. Canada Sneakers . Toronto has dropped games to Indiana and Miami since a five-game winning streak and closed out a three-game road trip at 1-2. Cheap Sneakers Canada Outlet . Already owning gold from competition in Vancouver in 2010, Loch posted a combined four-run time of 3:27.526. That included a track-record third run of 51. SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. -- Josh Martin had 16 points, six rebounds and six assists, Donovan Fields made 5 of 8 shots for 15 points, and Cal Poly beat Division II Cal State Dominguez Hills 75-64 on Thursday night for the Mustangs first victory of the season.Cal Poly trailed 35-32 at halftime but battled back to tie it at 50-all with 10:03 left. Martin sealed it when he scored six points during an 8-0 run for a 69-59 lead with 1:33 left.Victor Joseph added 13 points, and Luke Meikle and Kyle Toth had 12 points each for Cal Polyy (1-2).dddddddddddd The Mustangs turned 14 turnovers by the Toros into 21 points.The Mustangs were 17 of 23 from the line, while the Toros only went to the stripe 11 times.Vincent Golson led Cal State Dominguez Hills (1-2) with 20 points, seven rebounds and six assists. Justin Sadler added 12 points and five rebounds for the Toros, who led by as many as 16 points with 6:14 left in the first half. ' ' '

jcy123, 25.04.2019 06:58
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