Originally posted on Fox Sports Ohio  |  Last updated 3/23/12

COLUMBUS - JANUARY 11: Marc Methot #29 of the Columbus Blue Jackets skates during the NHL game against the St. Louis Blues at the Nationwide Arena on January 11, 2008 in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
The obvious draw to the celebrity bartending event at Brothers Bar & Grill Wednesday night were the good looks, outgoing personalities and on-ice performances of three of the Columbus Blue Jackets blue liners Marc Methot, John Moore and newly acquired Jack Johnson.Im here to see John Moore, said Katherine Carr, a 20-something fan of two years who resides in Reynoldsburg. Hes young and hes done a really great job for the team.Curious others were there to see what Jack Johnson is really like in person, while others came for veteran fan favorite, Marc Methot.Hes me and my wifes favorite player, said Zach Prater of Methot. Prater is also on the advisory board for the CBJ fan supporter group, the Arch City Army. The group showed up in a pack and presented Johnson with his first ACA scarf. (Methots) personality is wonderful. He gives 100 percent every game and hes just the best. Every time he sees people he just wants to talk to them, hell sign autographs; hes just a good guy.Judd Scott, a season ticket holder from the start and until the day I die, was wearing his Methot jersey. I bought Methots Christmas basket , said Scott of a fundraiser earlier in the season that benefited the Columbus Blue Jackets Foundation. Hes a good guy. And I think (the Foundation) is fantastic. I give money to them every year. And every time they have an auction or a raffle, Im in it, no doubt. Its great.And therein was the underlying reason so many Columbus fans came out Wednesday night to raise 3,000 for the CBJ Foundation that has its principles set in four pillars of giving to the Central Ohio community: Pediatric cancer, childrens health and safety initiatives, education and youth hockey development.My Mom is a breast cancer survivor, said Arch City Armys Prater. So any time I see them do (an event), it always brings a smile to me and I always try to give money when I can.According to the Foundations new Executive Director Jen Bowden, who joined the Foundation this season from the Mid Ohio Food Bank, the fight to cure pediatric cancer is the foundations signature cause. Thats the area where the majority of funds that we raise, and grants we give out, are in, she said.Bowden and other Foundation members are currently reviewing grant applications to hand out this year to various organizations in the Central Ohio community. The Foundation has raised significant funds during the 2011-12 season for grants, as well as for its selected partners like Nationwide Childrens Hospital. The Black Tie Blue Jackets style show raised 200,000, while the annual golf outing raised approximately 130,000, Bowden said, adding that the players relish their role in giving back to the community. We also have the signature Hats for Heroes program in partnership with the Fraternal Order of Police, said Bowden. They underwrite for the costs of all the materials. All the proceeds go back to support pediatric cancer initiatives. We also deliver those hats in person to patients at (Nationwide) Childrens Hospital.The Foundation also does jersey auctions at various times of the year, including a St. Patricks Day jersey auction and a purple Hockey Fights Cancer jersey auction. Players wear the jerseys for warm-ups and then the jerseys are auctioned off to the highest bidder, which can reach as high 2,000. The auctions typically raise about 18,000 each time its done. This year, said Bowden, the Foundation did a camo jersey to honor veterans.It was one of the more popular events theyve done yet.We have such a large military population that it resonated with the fans, she said, adding that they will be bringing back the camo jerseys next season as well.In fact, having more American players in the sport is what drew Carr to the event Wednesday to see John Moore.I like the fact that hes American, said Carr. I was at John Moores first NHL game last year and its been really exciting to watch him grow as a player.Incorporating American pride into the Foundations fundraising efforts was just as much a coup for the players as the fans, said Bowden.The guys actually loved (the camo jerseys), said Bowden. We now have quite a few Americans on our teamJames Wisniewski, Jack Johnsontheyre huge supporters of it. They like supporting military families.The Foundation also partners with other groups to raise awareness and funds for other causes in Central Ohio. In addition to the F.O.P., the Foundation partners with the Lady Jackets, a group comprised of the wives and girlfriends of Blue Jackets players, to donate money to a local domestic violence awareness group.They do a fundraising initiative through the player favorite baskets at Christmas, said Bowden. This year, they raised over 40,000 for Choices, which is the largest organization working to combat domestic violence in Ohio. (The Lady Jackets) coordinated and organized it and the money went to the Foundation and then distributed to Choices.That, said Carr, is one of the reasons she stands so firmly behind what the Foundation is doing in the community.I think its absolutely fantastic, especially as a woman, that they are involved with a charity like that, said Carr. It means a lot.You know what else means a lot to the fan base? That the Foundation provides opportunities to give without having to spend thousands of dollars, said Carr.It means a lot more to the fan base when they can go to an event, and they can attend and there arent thousands of dollars involved, she said. It makes fans feel like theyre getting involved in the charity, too.That, said Bowden, is something the Foundation is looking to continue to do as it moves forward, particularly with the popular camo jerseys.Were trying to figure out a way toHow can we do it for people who cant get to the 2,000 limit? she said of what the auction typically gets for a jersey. Maybe a replica of a jersey as a t-shirt, so people can afford it.She said the Foundation is also looking to get heavily involved with the NHL All-Star Game Legacy project, a signature project coordinated with the NHL every year in the city the game is held, to benefit the entire community.The NHL Foundation, the Columbus Blue Jackets Foundation and other supporters we can bring on board will work to create some lasting legacy from All Star weekend, said Bowden. In Montreal they rebuilt a used ice rink. The past two years theyve done projects in partnership with the Childrens Hospitals in the host city that are huge learning centers. They help connect the kids with classrooms and to stay in school while theyre in the hospital.Were just at the infancy stage of those discussions, said Bowden. That will be taking major space on our plate over the next 9 to 10 months. Beyond that, were looking at how can we continue to increase the impact were having.Whatever they do, the fans and players will be there to support it.As a fan of lots of other sports, Ive never seen players give back like they do, said Arch City Armys Prater of all the events put on by the Foundation that are so well attended by the players. Ive met so many players just from them doing charity work. They always come out and do the best they can. Its wonderful to see it happen.You can catch the players on ice tonight at Nationwide Arena against the Carolina Hurricanes starting at 7 p.m. You can watch the game and the pre-game show, starting at 6:30 p.m., on Fox Sports Ohio, or listen to the game on 97.1 The Fan.
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