COLUMBUS (WCMH) — The Columbus Blue Jackets have their popular players but on game nights and in Nationwide Arena, only one man is on a first name basis with the fans: Leo!
“I usually get a side look like, ‘I know that guy from somewhere,’” Leo Welsh, the Blue Jackets’ National Anthem singer, said.
You may not recognize him in the grocery store or when he’s out with his three sons, but once he puts on a CBJ jersey and has a microphone in hand you will know immediately who he is.
Leo is so popular, fans chant name in unison before he takes a deep breath and sings.
“I’ve met the 5,000 people who’ve started [the chant],” Leo said. “They all claim they were the one who started it and I thank every one of them for doing it.”
A vocal music major and Ohio University alum, Leo has been a fan favorite since 2003, when he first took on the job.
“My wife heard about a contest the Blue Jackets were having, a radio contest and the Blue Jackets liked what they heard,” he recalled.
The rest is history. For the last 16 seasons, Leo has sung in front of thousands of fans, but one day in particular sticks out: Jan. 13, 2019.
“Oh yeah, you’re talking about the worst day of my life. Yeah, it was great,” he said. That was the day Leo forgot his microphone.
“I got totally starstruck by Rick Nash. All these things were running through my mind except, ‘where Is my microphone?’ At the last second, I was like uh-oh no microphone. I have no one to blame but me,” he said.
The fans saved him that night.
Now, he hopes to make the crowd proud with his legendary voice during the Jackets’ playoff run.