Blue Jackets visit new rink

Staff and Wire Reports

New Outdoor Hockey Rink Dedicated

Columbus Blue Jackets helped celebrate the Thomas James Knox Rink on Saturday, June 30. The rink formally introduces street and roller hockey league and clinic play with the newest facility at Westerville’s Alum Creek Park South, 535 Park Meadow Road.

It is a legacy project completed in partnership with Jim and Lisa Knox of Westerville, who lost their 14-year-old son Thomas unexpectedly in 2015. Thomas was an avid hockey fan and played the sport since age six.

The Thomas James Knox Rink is the newest addition to the 30-plus acre park which currently features skate ramps, a BMX track and climbing feature.

In 2017, the Westerville Parks and Recreation Department began working with Jim and Lisa Knox to create concepts for the rink, which honors their son, Thomas James.

The facility will offer a central location for youth to be introduced to hockey as a team sport, provide space for community programming to develop the skills of players of all ages and create a public space for players to sharpen their talents.

Westerville Parks & Recreation broke ground on construction in April and completed the project last month.

The Columbus Blue Jackets offered Try Hockey For Free Day; 60-minute street hockey clinics designed to introduce the sport to kids. CBJ Fan Development staff will provide instruction on the basics of stick-handling, passing and shooting. The event was open to boys and girls ages 6-14.

Blue Jackets lock up Jenner with 4-year contract extension

COLUMBUS (Associated Press) — The Columbus Blue Jackets have signed forward Boone Jenner to a four-year contract extension.

The 25-year-old Dorchester, Ontario, native has been a stalwart presence in the emergence of the Blue Jackets as a playoff team in the last two seasons.

The contract signed Wednesday locks up Jenner through the 2021-22 season. Terms were not disclosed.

Jenner had 13 goals and nine assists in 2017-18, a season in which he missed all of training camp and the first seven games of the season with a back injury.

His best season was 2015-16, when he scored 30 goals and 19 assists.

Columbus general manager Jarmo Kekalainen says Jenner “has been an important player for the Columbus Blue Jackets with his work ethic, character and leadership on and off the ice.”

Blue Jackets sign Duclair to $650,000, 1-year deal

By Stephen Whyno

AP Hockey Writer

Anthony Duclair is a bit embarrassed about bouncing around to various teams and taking a league-minimum, one-year deal.

Duclair signed a $650,000 contract Friday for next season with the Columbus Blue Jackets, his fourth NHL team. He’s been traded twice and last week became an unrestricted free agent when the Chicago Blackhawks decided not to offer him a contract to retain his rights.

“It’s definitely a huge wake-up call,” Duclair said on a conference call. “You’re a 22-year-old free agent, it’s not the best thing out there. Obviously, it’s going to raise some eyebrows and raise some questions.”

Columbus was one of a few teams interested in signing Duclair, a 2013 third-round pick who won a world junior gold medal with Canada and spent time with the New York Rangers, Arizona Coyotes and Blackhawks. The one-time 20-goal scorer remains unfilled potential after parts of four NHL seasons.

“Anthony is a skilled, young player with world-class speed, who has played in over 200 NHL games as a 22-year-old and was one of the league’s top rookies just two years ago,” Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen said. “He is eager for an opportunity to improve as a player, and we think he has a chance to be an impactful addition to our hockey club.”

Duclair was traded by the Rangers to the Coyotes in 2015 and put up career highs with 20 goals, 24 assists and 44 points the next season. Arizona traded him to Chicago in January, and the Blackhawks declined to qualify him after eight points in 23 games.

Being demoted to the American Hockey League during the 2016-17 season was Duclair’s first taste of adversity as a professional. It may prepare him for the next step as a full-time NHL player.

“Definitely, something I learned a lot from,” Duclair said. “Sort of glad it happened because it really showed me that to stick in this league you’ve got to show up every night. You’re not going to be at your best every night. But as long as you’re working hard and you got that work ethic, I think it goes a long way.”

If he can rediscover his 2015-16 level of production, he’ll help Columbus replace Matt Calvert, who signed with Colorado. The Blue Jackets signed center Riley Nash to an $8.25 million, three-year contract when free agency opened.

Duclair said Kekalainen and coach John Tortorella were on board with signing him, which made Columbus his preferred destination for a possible career-defining year.

“You definitely want to go to a team where they really want you,” Duclair said. “I think I’m an NHL-caliber player. I have a long career ahead of me.”

Staff and Wire Reports

Information for this story was provided by the City of Westerville. More NHL hockey:

Information for this story was provided by the City of Westerville. More NHL hockey: