COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Typically when fans make banners for Columbus Crew games, you’ll see a lot of Crew gear around. However, Thursday’s get-together to paint the banner for Saturday’s game was a bit different. There was some crew gear, but there was also a lot of Columbus Blue Jackets (CBJ) gear. That’s because the banner honors Matiss Kivlenieks.
“We’re trying to make Blue Jackets fans know that we’re here for them,” said Brian Klein.
He said after the death of Kivlenieks, Crew wants wanted to honor the 24-year-old and support the CBJ fanbase. The groups decided on making a special banner that’ll be at Saturday’s Crew game. They painted it Thursday outside Nationwide Arena. Columbus Crew Captain Jonathan Mensah helped.
“As crew fans, we know what it’s like to lose a player too young when we lost Kirk Urso,” said Klein. “We’re new neighbors now, we’re going to be here week in week out and we just want to do what we can to help them on their way of going through their grief.”
Banner-making is a tradition for the Nordecke. The design and final product are kept secret until the game. While we don’t know exactly what the banner for Saturday’s game will look like, we do know it will be a tribute to Kivlenieks.
“It’s hard to put into words what it means, it’s just the community is so supportive of each other,” said Sarah Kent. She helped start a memorial for Kivlenieks the day his death was announced.
After the banner is in the stands with fans at Saturday’s game, the plan is to get it signed by Crew players, then give it to the Columbus Blue Jackets so it can be displayed with the memorial at Nationwide Arena.