COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Hockey & Hounds is a radio segment on Central Ohio’s 97.1 The Fan that has turned into something much bigger.
“When I tell [John Tortorella] that we’ve gotten the dog adopted that we talked about on the show, you would have thought I handed him another Stanley Cup,” said Anthony Rothman, co-host of the Carpenter and Rothman radio show.
Columbus Blue Jackets head coach John Tortorella comes on the Carpenter and Rothman show Wednesday afternoons during hockey season to talk hockey… and hounds.
“I want people to know how genuine he is,” said Rothman.
When Tortorella was announced as the new CBJ head coach, Rothman did some research and saw that Tortorella was a fellow animal lover.
“So I wrote him a note– welcoming him to town,” Rothman explained. “I said hey my name is Anthony Rothman. I’m a host on ESPN radio here in Columbus. I’m also a volunteer humane agent in Franklin County, and I’d love to partner with you on a couple of dog projects or animal projects when you see time.”
Their partnership was born.
“He wrote me back within 24 hours. He said, ‘yes, absolutely, let’s do a show,’” Rothman said.
It was an instant hit.
“We had created something– Torts and I on the show, and he said let’s get some t-shirts. He said everywhere I go people are asking for t-shirts. So we had to kind of think to ourselves… what do we want the logo to be? Is it us? Well, it’s not really us because it’s about adopting animals and animal welfare,” Rothman added. “So I was shopping in the Blue Line Shop, and I started talking with Robin their buyer who outfits the shop, and I started talking about these high-quality type shirts. They had CBJ all over them, and she said ‘Anthony, you’re not going to believe this… this company was born right here in Columbus, Ohio.’”
And another partnership was born. This one with Where I’m From apparel.
“Creating a cool shirt that we sell for 100% of proceeds [going to charity] is right in our wheelhouse,” said Where I’m From co-owner Ryan Napier. “When he was asking for that, we immediately said yes, happy to do it. [We] got our design team on it right away and started the whole process with them.”
After the Blue Jackets sweep of the Tampa Bay Lightning, Where I’m From says the Hockey & Hounds line was the bestselling apparel on their site.
“It’s really been the perfect storm since then. The promotion has been awesome,” Napier added. “We’re able to come up with a great design, in there with the Blue Jackets doing their part just adding the wood on fire with this awesome playoff run. It’s been absolutely fantastic.”
“They got into the playoffs on the second to last game of the season this year, and they parlayed that into knocking off the best team in the league in the last 20 years, but if they didn’t make the playoffs– what I try to tell people– is [Tortorella] would have still been there for this project… for the clinics we do, the low income families who want to take care of their pets… his family foundation sponsors that stuff. His wife is into it. The coaches are into it. Their wives are into it. I just want people to know that this front office of the Blue Jackets– they were going to be there for the animals win or lose.,” said Rothman.
Another win, Rothman tells NBC4, is some inside CBJ information for people who listen to the show and support the foundation.
“The funny thing about Coach Tortorella is sometimes he’ll break some news during Hockey & Hounds because he kind of wants to reward the people who are listening, and he hopes– and I hope– they stick around and learn about the dogs,” Rothman said.
To learn more about or donate to The John and Christine Family Foundation click here.