COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Columbus Blue Jackets fans are known as the team’s “5th Line,” but another group of die-hard fans who support the players on and off the ice are the “CBJ Lady Jackets.”
The Lady Jackets consist of the players’ wives and girlfriends who raise awareness for charitable organizations around Columbus, including the Blue Jackets Foundation.
“We just try to give back as much as we can, and you know, we just feel blessed, and we want to give it back,” said Natalie Atkinson, Cam Atkinson’s wife.
On the ice, Atkinson shines as a star player for the Jackets. Off the ice, Cam, and his wife Natalie glow even brighter as they raise awareness for charitable organizations they support.
“This year has been a little different with our philanthropic work since we can’t actually get out into the community right now,” Natalie said.
As one of the leaders of the CBJ Lady Jackets, Natalie feels fortunate their annual “Lady Jackets Favorite Things Basket Auction” can still take place to raise crucial donations for the Blue Jackets Foundation.
“All the proceeds go to the foundation, but they go to the Lady Jackets part of the foundation, so we’ll get to direct the money towards the causes that we feel passionate about,” Natalie said.
The auction includes 17 baskets put together by the Lady Jackets, and they are on display inside the concourse at Nationwide Arena.
“Cam and myself partnered with Patrik Laine and his girlfriend and we did jerseys that are signed with sticks that are signed and a year, a year membership to the Columbus Zoo, a year membership to Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens,” she said.
Two favorite spots in Columbus the Atkinsons love to take their sons, Declan and Caden.
“Even when it’s cold out, we would take them just so we could get out of the house,” Natalie said with a chuckle.
The baskets feature several signed jerseys, sticks and hats from Jackets players, gifts cards to many local restaurants, and a round of golf with Blue Jackets General Manager Jarmo Kekalainen.
“Every year, we raise between $9,000 and $35,000,” Natalie said.
The Lady Jackets hope to raise even more money this year to help those in need.
“So many of people have had it so hard during this pandemic, losing jobs, and not being able to afford rent or food,” Natalie said.
Fans have until 11 p.m. Monday, April 12 to take part in the auction.
Fans may text CBJAUCTION to 76278 or visit cbjauction.givesmart.com to participate.
“We’re already making a lot to give back to the community, so that’s exciting,” Natalie said.