Chill Factor: How a Minor-League Hockey Team Changed a City Forever

Chill Factor: How a Minor-League Hockey Team Changed a City Forever


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Learn how a minor-league hockey team helped bring the NHL to Columbus, Ohio.

The city of Columbus, Ohio, had always struggled to support any professional sports franchise. It’s a town where Ohio State University reigns supreme, and everything else is less important. That was until 1991, when the Columbus Chill, a minor-league hockey franchise, arrived. Using Veeckian marketing tactics and on-ice shenanigans, the Chill became the talk of the city and gained a religious local fan base. Based on the success of the Chill, from 1991–99, the city of Columbus was awarded with the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2000, the city’s own NHL franchise.

Chill Factor follows the wild ride through the eyes of team president and general manager David Paitson, from the early formation of the minor-league franchise through the decision to rattle the status quo by going to the edge and beyond with a marketing and promotional plan that was both edgy and controversial.

The success of the Chill after their first season gave the organization the impetus to challenge local civic and business leaders to build a world-class arena and emerge from the shadow of OSU. There were setbacks and triumphs on and off the ice, and eventually the realization that the Columbus of today would not be possible without the aid of the Chill.

Chill Factor takes readers into the front office and onto the rink, giving every angle of how a small town was able to get behind a working-class team that fought both on and off the ice. This thrilling account will appeal to those who remember the Chill’s reign, as well as those who enjoy seeing the underdog climb the ladder to sports supremacy.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781683583691
Publisher: Sports Publishing LLC
Publication date: 11/24/2020
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 484,845
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Dr. David Paitson was the president and general manager of the Columbus Chill from 1991–98 and a career sports business executive. Paitson has worked in public relations and marketing capacities with the Indiana Pacers (NBA), with the Columbus Blue Jackets (NHL), and as president of the Columbus Destroyers (AFL). He currently works as director of athletics at Lake Superior State University. He and his wife, Lauren, currently reside in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan

Craig Merz, a lifelong Columbus resident, has witnessed the evolving sports scene there from the stands and the press box, including a quarter century of reporting for the Columbus Dispatch. He has covered the  Stanley Cup Final, NHL All-Star Game, NHL Draft, and the NCAA Frozen Four. Merz has been an independent correspondent covering the Columbus Blue Jackets since 2013, and is a freelance reporter for the Associated Press, Buckeye Sports Bulletin, and Field Level Media, among others.

Bob Hunter was a sportswrit­er for the Columbus Dispatch for more than forty years (1975[en dash]2016), the last twenty-four as a columnist. During that time, he covered all sports[em dash]including hockey and the Colum­bus Chill. Hunter is the author of ten books, including Saint Woody: The History and Fanaticism of Ohio State Football and Players, Teams and Stadium Ghosts, and has won numerous writing awards. He re­sides in Westerville, Ohio.


Table of Contents

Foreword xiii

Introduction: Greetings from Columbus, Ohio xxi

Chapter 1 Dark Shadows of Scarlet and Gray 1

Chapter 2 A First-Rate Second Choice 13

Chapter 3 Naysayers Be Damned 24

Chapter 4 It's Not Your Common Cold 33

Chapter 5 A Taylor-Made Problem 43

Chapter 6 Opening Night Meltdown 53

Chapter 7 Magic and Mayhem 65

Chapter 8 The Land of Misfit Toys 75

Chapter 9 Mardi Gras Meets High Sticking 85

Chapter 10 America Discovers Columbus 93

Chapter 11 A Born-Again Used-Car Salesman 103

Chapter 12 A Game-Changing Moment 113

Chapter 13 Pipeline to the Show 123

Chapter 14 The Big Sell 137

Chapter 15 Building for the Future 155

Chapter 16 The Walkout 165

Chapter 17 The Battle Lines Drawn 177

Chapter 18 Moe Knows Hockey 187

Chapter 19 A Seat at the Big Boys' Table 201

Chapter 20 The Evil Empire 207

Chapter 21 The Drive to the Finish 219

Chapter 22 Pucks, Politics, and the Arc of the Power Play 231

Chapter 23 The Enemies Within 243

Chapter 24 Striking Back 251

Chapter 25 Udder Madness 265

Chapter 26 Last Call 275

Chapter 27 The Chill Factor 285

Acknowledgments 293

Overtime 295

Shootout 303

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