The Columbus Blue Jackets open the 2021-22 season when they host the Arizona Coyotes at Nationwide Arena on Thursday, October 14, at 7 p.m. The club has several special activities planned to kick off its 21st National Hockey League season, including the return of the Opening Night Plaza Party, presented by Nationwide, and a special tribute to late Blue Jackets goaltender Matiss Kivlenieks.
The Plaza Party will take place on the Front Street Plaza beginning at 3 p.m. and will feature music, games, prizes, and beverages. Pepsi products will be available for sampling and guests aged 21 and over can sample mike’s Hard Lemonade products, Athletic Brewing non-alcoholic beer, or stop by the MillerCoors truck to purchase a beverage. All beverages will be available for purchase at select concession stands inside Nationwide Arena.
A central attraction of the annual plaza party is the Nationwide “Blue Carpet” arrival of players. Due to NHL protocols, player arrivals will not be held on Front St., but will be shown on large screens on the plaza and include interviews with select players between 3:30-5 p.m.
Other highlights of the event include live broadcasts starting with Sports Radio 97.1 The Fan’s Common Man & T-Bone show from 3-6 p.m., followed by Bally Sports Ohio’s expanded edition of the Blue Jackets Live pre-game show hosted by Brian Giesenschlag and Jean-Luc Grand-Pierre starting at 6 p.m.
All fans attending the game will receive a 2021-22 schedule magnet courtesy of Nationwide. Arena doors open early at 5:30 p.m. and fans are encouraged to take their seats by 7 p.m. for the Opening Night show featuring individual player introductions.
The Blue Jackets will also honor the memory of goaltender Matiss Kivlenieks, who passed away in July. Members of Matiss’ family, including his mother, stepfather, sister and aunt, will be in attendance and participate in a ceremonial puck drop prior to the game, while a banner featuring his number “80” will be unveiled and remain in the Nationwide Arena rafters for the duration of the 2021-22 season. His number “80” will also be visible in the ice behind both nets for Thursday’s game vs. Arizona and Saturday’s contest vs. Seattle and all Blue Jackets players will wear an “80” sticker on their helmets throughout the season.
Following his passing, the Columbus Blue Jackets Foundation established the Matiss Kivlenieks Memorial Fund to support youth hockey initiatives in Columbus and his native Latvia. The organization and McConnell family pledged $80,000 to match every donation made to the fund in Matiss’ memory. To date, over $100,000 has been raised. On Opening Night, all CBJ Foundation fundraising activities, including 50/50 Raffle, auction and merchandise sales including official warm up pucks and special “Kivi” hats and t-shirts, will benefit the fund. For more information or to make a contribution, individuals may visit www.BlueJackets.com/Kivi.
Fans may purchase single-game tickets, including to Thursday’s season-opener, at BlueJackets.com and Ticketmaster.com. Tickets are also available at the Big Lots Box Office at Nationwide Arena, OhioHealth Chiller Ice Rinks and The Blue Line, the club’s Official Team Store, located at Nationwide Arena and Polaris Fashion Place.
Full and partial season tickets for the Blue Jackets’ 2021-22 campaign are also currently available for purchase. Information on all ticketing options can be obtained by calling (800) NHL‐COLS or by visiting www.BlueJackets.com.