Fans of any sport will tell you that when a player is traded, the loss can be disorienting, especially if the player had been with the team for several seasons and became an integral part of the franchise.
This was the case with Rick Nash, who was traded by the Columbus Blue Jackets at the end of July to the New York Rangers. Aside from the 2004-05 season, he’d played his entire career to date with the Blue Jackets and was named captain of the team in 2006 after being picked first overall in the 2002 NHL Draft. Off the ice, he became a big part of the community through appearances and charity work.
Many fans understandably felt devastated because of the trade, as though a part of their life – an entire lifetime for young fans born in and after 2002 – was gone. The offseason trades and signings may heal the wound a bit, but the hole that Nash’s departure left is still fresh.
On Friday, Nash acknowledged his appreciation for Blue Jackets fans by taking out a full-page ad in the Columbus Dispatch. The copy under the picture of Nash saluting the fans reads:
Dear Blue Jacket Fans,
Thank you for the unwavering support you have shown me over the past nine seasons.
I am so fortunate to have had the chance to call Columbus home and to say proudly that I am from the Buckeye state.
Thanks for the memories. Thanks for everything.
With the gesture, Nash showed how grateful he is to the city that welcomed him at the start of his NHL career and assured fans that they and the city will always have a place in his heart. Hopefully this last display of affection will soften the blow when they see their former captain in Rangers colors this season.