We are excited to introduce a newly revised ColumbusChill.net.
The website captures the historical details of the Columbus Chill, an East Coast Hockey League franchise that operated from 1991 to 1999 at the Ohio Expo Fairgrounds Coliseum. The Chill had success on the ice, capturing two division titles in its eight seasons, but it was the coach and player personalities, the edgy marketing and brand presentation, the vibrant side show game presentation approach, the raw enthusiasm of 6,000 faithful fans packed into the battle worn Fairgrounds Coliseum, and a unique love between team and fans that made the Chill the Chill. You embraced these guys and they embraced you in a way that most sports franchises would envy.
For those of you who loved the Chill and the characters – ColumbusChill.net covers a great deal of the history of the Chill be it coaches like the colorful Terry Ruskowski or cast of characters like Jason “Smurf” Christie, Lance “Duke” Brady, Derek “King” Clancey and so many others, there is much within the website to explore from historical records to the All Time Chill Team to a Where Are They Now section that examines the players and coaches lives after the Chill. We think you will enjoy it!
For those of you that did not have the opportunity to attend a Chill game and wonder what all the fuss was about. It’s hard to describe to people the energy in the building night after night. It must be hard for those who are new to town to fathom the Coliseum as the place to be in the 1990s, but it was. ColumbusChill.net is a peek inside the 1990s and how the Chill exploded onto the scene and within months had captured the attention of The Wall Street Journal, ABC World News Sunday, and Sports Illustrated. Or how the Chill was named the city’s Best Sporting Event two years in a row by Columbus Monthly. For what the website does not capture we recommend you pick up a copy of Chill Factor, how a minor-league hockey team changed a city forever to fill in the details.
A lot has happened since the Last Call in 1999 and even since the original ColumbusChill.net went online a decade ago. Two of the four Chill coaches (Brian McCutcheon, Buffalo; Don Granato, St. Louis, Buffalo) reached NHL benches and the other two (Terry Ruskowski, Moe Mantha) continued successful minor-league coaching careers. Jason Christie, known for his fierceness as a player on the ice, would go on to become the ECHL’s All-Time winningest coach. Other Chill players have moved on to major roles in the business. Brad Treliving is the General Manager of the Calgary Flames, Derek Clancey is the Director of Player Personnel for the Pittsburgh Penguins, Jamie Spencer is EVP for Business Development for the Minnesota Wild, and Matt Oates is a leading sports agent. Many others associated with the Chill have continued in hockey or been successful in other careers. You can learn more about each of them in Where Are They Now section of ColumbusChill.net.
The Columbus Chill Memories Facebook page is updated with content on a regular basis with the happenings of some of your favorite characters. Twitter and Instagram pages were also established. We invite you to join them all.
In 2012 the first Chill reunion was held with a series of events highlighted by the 20th anniversary reunion party at the LC Pavilion in the Arena District, a youth hockey clinic conducted by the Chill players, a reunion game between Chill players and other former collegiate and professional hockey players living in the Columbus area. The game took place at Chiller North. Also, Chill players Lance Brady, Jeff Salajko and Rob Schriner were honored by dropping the puck at the Columbus Blue Jackets vs. Florida Panthers game at Nationwide Arena. Will there be a 30th anniversary event in 2021? We’ll see.
Chill Factor, how a minor-league hockey team changed a city forever was published by the Sports Publishing division of Skyhorse Publishing (NY) March 2015 and reached #1 in both hockey books and sports business books on Amazon. The book did well enough to be rereleased (including new updates and content) again in November 2020. With it the Chill legacy continues.
Chill merchandise is more readily available than ever via both Vintageicehockey.com (looking forward to jerseys being ready for sale in 2021) and Homage in Columbus.
For those of you who experienced the games at the Coliseum – and even for those of you who didn’t – we appreciate your interest and for visiting ColumbusChill.net. As long as you remain interested, we will continue to provide new information and updates! Thank you!
David Paitson, Ed.D., President & General Manager Columbus Chill