Tag Archives: Columbus Blue Jackets

Exchange Students, Potato Chips and those Red Wings Fans!

by Hope Madden
It’s Blue Jacket season, which always makes me a little nostalgic for Brazil. Not that I’ve ever been there, but watching early Jackets’ history through the eyes of our Brazilian exchange student gave the whole experience more energy and excitement.

Edinardo – or Edodido, as my mother-in-law cheerily, loudly called him for no reason I can think of – moved in with us November of 2000, just in time for the Jackets’ inaugural season. He’d never seen a hockey game before, being more of a baseball guy, but he turned out to be a Yankee fan, so we decided to focus on hockey.

Edinardo came to us sort of by accident. My husband George had read his woeful tale in the Tri-Village News. He’d been mistakenly placed with a family planning a move to Peru.

That’s totally outside Grandview City School district.

The service had found another family to host Edinardo in Kentucky, but he’d made friends at Grandview Heights High and hoped to stay.

We’d never tackled the challenges of parenting a teen before. Since then, we’ve not only tackled those challenges, but we’ve actually tackled teens. Knocked them right to the ground.

But back in ’00, our son Riley was about to turn seven, we were still optimistic about the upcoming election, and the whole world seemed gentler.

Plus, we had two unused bedrooms, so we took him in.

We were interviewed, of course, to ensure we were fit to assume responsibility for the boy. The woman from the agency asked us what our policy was toward dating. I told her we weren’t allowed to (bada-bing!). It was all pretty silly, but they let us have him anyway.

There were ups and downs. He more or less refused to speak more than severely fragmented English, which was certainly the down part. He poured full bags of Lays Sour Cream and Onion potato chips on top of every meal I cooked. In his room at night, when he talked for hours on the phone with the friends he missed from back home, he sounded exactly like a roomful of 12-year-old girls.

I don’t know how he did it, but you’d swear we had a Brazilian middle school cheerleading squad stomping around and squealing up there.

He pronounced George with the most gorgeous accent, but called me Rope and referred to Riley as Big Baby, which came out sounding like Pig Baby – a nickname that stuck for a while, actually.

But once it got beyond the “let’s be on a first name or close to it basis” we didn’t really gel as a group until hockey.

Although our first game didn’t go as well as it might have.

We decided at the last minute one night to give hockey a try as a newly-extended family. George was going to meet us at Nationwide Arena, and I planned to scalp four tickets in the meantime. (It’s not illegal; it’s just frowned upon. And in 2000, it was harder than you realize.)

The guy wanted $35 apiece.

“Dude, there’s no way. We’re just looking for cheap seats,” I explained.

“I can give them to you for twenty each,” he countered.

I can see the scene from his point of view: a wholesome enough hockey mom, an apple cheeked 7-year-old attached to one hand, an exchange student eager for new cultural experiences behind. I countered back:

“That would be all the money I have. The boys are going to need a hot dog, at least, once we’re in there.”

“Fifteen bucks.”


As I dug around for the sixty bucks, Edinardo decided he wanted to treat and pulled out a hundred dollar bill.

Well, it’s not like I wanted to strike up a long term friendship with the scalper.

Plus, it was a good opportunity to explain some of the nuances of American sports culture.

Edinardo loved the game so much that he began going on his own as often as he could. His best day in the US came during a Jackets’ home stand against the hated Red Wings.

The Jackets got behind. A Red Wings fan – a particularly belligerent one I like to imagine wearing a mullett – shouted to Edinardo as his team went ahead, “Hey, loser, why don’t you go home?”

I hate that part of the story. Edinardo, alone in a sea of drunken hockey fans, harassed and intimidated. But his tale improved.

The Blue Jackets went on to an amazing come-from-behind win. The screaming crowd was on its feet. It was the most excitement Edinardo had been part of since coming to our country. Full of team pride, he turned around to the Red Wings fan.

“Now maybe you go home.”

God bless America.

Weekend Countdown: Let’s Go Jackets!

Is it hyperbole to say this is the most exciting weekend in the history of the Columbus Blue Jackets? Is it?!

They’ve been playing out of their minds, and if they keep that going Saturday night in NWA, they could land a #8 seed in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. And let’s be honest, unlike last time, this year it really feels like they could do some damage (especially after a #8 seed just won the cup!)

And so, in honor of this weekend’s hockey fever, let’s lace ‘em up and count down the top 5 hockey films!

 5. Rocket: The Legend of Rocket Richard (2005)

No, we did not throw this in just to avoid including Mighty Ducks or Youngblood, but man, were we happy to find just one more decent hockey movie. The film echoes the life of Montreal Canadiens great Maurice Richard in an elegantly filmed biopic on overcoming adversity to become an iconic sports figure and national hero. Sure, that sounds familiar, but this time it happens in Canada.



4. Mystery, Alaska (1999)

Here’s a perfectly enjoyable, needlessly cluttered underdog tale where decent writing and generous performances outweigh trite themes. The alum of a tiny Alaskan town brings an NHL match home when the NY Rangers agree to play Mystery, Alaska’s hard-nosed local boys. Good-natured fun follows.


3. Goon (2011)

We can’t get enough of this Canadian minor league hockey gem, written by Jay Baruchel and starring Sean William Scott, who plays against type as a sweet natured, dunderheaded hockey goon who can’t skate but sure can beat the crap out of people.


2. Miracle (2004)

This great looking, family-friendly biopic boasts an excellent Kurt Russell, some fantastic hockey footage, and swelling emotions. Authentic, understated and weirdly compelling given the fact that we all know how it turns out. (Dude, we totally beat the Russians! Those douches.)



1. Slap Shot (1977)

What Caddyshack is to caddying, what The Bad News Bears is to little league – Slap Shot is best hockey movie ever. Paul Newman is hilariously salty in a story about a failing town soon to lose its minor league hockey team, and the player whose career is over if he can’t figure out how to save it. Does salvation wear thick glasses, travel in threes, and pack toy trains?