Originally written on Fox Sports Ohio  |  Last updated 10/17/14
Not many people receive a standing ovation when walking into a Buffalo Wild Wings. But that is exactly what happened to Columbus Blue Jackets General Manager Jarmo Kekalainen when he showed up to the fourth annual Cannonfest yesterday. I want to tell the fans we appreciate their support and everyone on the team is excited about the fan base and their enthusiasm, said Kekalainen. I think its important to come here, show your face and tell fans face to face that you appreciate them. Greg May, owner of the Buffalo Wild Wings Grandview, Hilliard and Bethel Road locations, as well as a Cannonfest co-creator himself, estimated a crowd of more than 250 Blue Jackets fans at the Bethel Road BWs to welcome Kekalainen. The crowd definitely had an impact. I was impressed, said Kekalainen. I didnt expect quite that big of a crowd in the summer on a Sunday. It was overwhelmingly full of people and such an enthusiastic crowd. It says a lot about the fan base. Cannonfest is a grass roots community event initially created by Blue Jackets fans who were excited to get the hockey season kicked off. Its grown into a large-scale event that now drives conversation and excitement about the team and includes involvement from Blue Jackets staffers. Its filled with videos, photos and activities created by, and for, Blue Jackets fans. Cannonfest co-creator Matt Wagner said thats what makes the event so special. The fan community promotes it and creates the content, Wagner said. I love the fact that we had a lot of fans submit videos and pictures. This time the fans owned the content as much as the organizers. This years Cannonfest included season recap videosas well as a touching video tribute to former CBJ radio broadcaster George Matthews, a Blue Jackets memorabilia display, video game tournaments, and a social-media based fan video competition. Columbus resident and long-time Jackets fan John Kemp explained what motivated him to create what was the contest-winning video. Cannonfest is about anticipation. Were all fans and we can all get excited for what will happen in the coming year together, Kemp said. I wanted an opportunity to explain why Im such a passionate fan. In addition to contests and videos, the fan base made an impact in other ways. Fundraising campaigns were led by the fan groups Jacket Backers, and Arch City Army. Raffles and promotions brought in funds for three local charities: the Sedona Grace Foundation, The Ryan Salmons Foundation, and the Blue Jackets Foundation. Cannonfest raised a total of 1,500 for the Blue Jackets Foundation, exceeding last years totals. We always enjoy when fans come together they are some of the most involved in the hockey community and for both of us to help central Ohio together is awesome, said Blue Jackets Foundation Manager Alison Pegg. Another Cannonfest beneficiary was the Sedona Grace Foundation, a charity founded by two Blue Jackets fans. The foundation collects pet food and treats for local families in need by providing supplies to central Ohio food pantries. Jackets fans were encouraged to bring dog food and treats in exchange for food discounts during Cannonfest. We collected over 200 pounds in dog food and treats and just over one hundred dollars in donations, says Sedona Founder, Dave Cottone. It was a great turnout more than we could have hoped for. Wagner agrees. Its amazing. Cannonfest has become part of the fan community, he said. Its an honor and exciting to see how this has grown. Kekalainen says the impression from today is something hell keep with him and that the team is aware of the fans excitement. I didnt know what to expect but I certainly didnt expect this. Hockey season really isnt that far away. The guys saw how the fans rallied behind the team last year, he said. Everybodys feeling it and the guys are working extremely hard to get ready for next season. Were ready for it. Blue Jackets tickets for the 2013-14 season are currently available for purchase. Information on all ticketing options can be obtained by calling (800) NHLCOLS or by visiting BlueJackets.com.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Peyton Manning sets NFL touchdown passing record

Report: CJ Spiller suffers broken collarbone

DeMarco Murray sets record with another 100-yard game

Report: Things got 'ugly' in Bears' locker room after loss

Redskins bench Kirk Cousins for Colt McCoy

Rams beat Seahawks thanks to gutsy fake punt call

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Brian Kelly unloads on officials for pass interference call

Brett Favre: I got calls about playing last season

Joseph Randle partners with underwear company after arrest

Report: Seahawks asked about Julius Thomas, Jordan Cameron

Florida fans chant for Will Muschamp to be fired

Gennady Golovkin scores second-round knockout win

10 takeaways from NFL Week 7

Video: Alec Burks breaks Kobe Bryant's ankles

WATCH: Sean Payton has tense exchange with reporter

Darnell Dockett mocks Raiders fans with whiteboard

WATCH: Tony Romo nearly runs over Alex Rodriguez

WATCH: Prince Amukamara pulls Dwayne Harris' hair

What was the meaning behind Doug Baldwin's TD celebration?

Luke Kuechly ejected after questionable call

WATCH: Giovanni Bernard gets leveled by Vontae Davis

WATCH: Rams run awesome trick play for punt return TD

Kyle Orton shaves his epic mustache

Florida State beats Notre Dame 31-27 in thriller

Blue Jackets News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Favre: I got calls about playing last season

10 takeaways from NFL Week 7

Report: Marshall calls out Jay Cutler

Darnell Dockett mocks Raiders fans

Brian Kelly unloads on officials

WATCH: Rams run punt return trick play for TD

Joseph Randle now an underwear spokesman?

Ex-Trojans RB escorted out after USC game

FSU tops Notre Dame in thriller

Fans chant for Muschamp's head

Popovich zings Suns owner

Golden Tate reacts to Percy Harvin trade

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.