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Chill Factor

How a Minor-League Hockey Team Changed a City Forever

David Paitson, Craig Merz, Bob Hunter (Foreword by)


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The city of Columbus, Ohio, had always struggled to support any professional sports franchise. It’s a town where Ohio State University reigns supreme, and everything else is less important. That was until 1991, when the Columbus Chill, a minor-league hockey franchise, arrived. Using Veeckian marketing tactics and on-ice shenanigans, the Chill became the talk of the city and gained a religious local fan base. Based on the success of the Chill, from 1991–99, the city of Columbus was awarded with the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2000, the city’s own NHL franchise.

Chill Factor follows the wild ride through the eyes of team president and general manager David Paitson, from the early formation of the minor-league franchise through the decision to rattle the status quo by going to the edge and beyond with a marketing and promotional plan that was both edgy and controversial.

The success of the Chill after their first season gave the organization the impetus to challenge local civic and business leaders to build a world-class arena and emerge from the shadow of OSU. There were setbacks and triumphs on and off the ice, and eventually the realization that the Columbus of today would not be possible without the aid of the Chill.

Chill Factor takes readers into the front office and onto the rink, giving every angle of how a small town was able to get behind a working-class team that fought both on and off the ice. This thrilling account will appeal to those who remember the Chill’s reign, as well as those who enjoy seeing the underdog climb the ladder to sports supremacy.

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Praise For Chill Factor: How a Minor-League Hockey Team Changed a City Forever

"Chill Factor is a fun story of off-the-wall marketing and keen vision turning a college sports town into a major league NHL city." -Joe Pelletier,

"Chill Factor is a fun story of off-the-wall marketing and keen vision turning a college sports town into a major league NHL city." -Joe Pelletier,

Sports Publishing, 9781613217672, 344pp.

Publication Date: March 3, 2015

About the Author

David Paitson was the President and General Manager of the Columbus Chill from 1991–98 and a career sports business executive. Paitson has worked in public relations and marketing capacities with the Indiana Pacers (NBA), the Columbus Blue Jackets (NHL), and as President of the Columbus Destroyers (AFL). He currently works as Associate Athletic Director at Sam Houston State University. He and his wife, Lauren, currently reside in Montgomery, Texas.

Craig Merz, a lifelong Columbus, Ohio, resident, has witnessed the evolving Columbus sports scene from the stands and the press box, including a quarter century of reporting for the Columbus Dispatch. He has covered the Stanley Cup Finals, the NHL All-Star Game and Entry Drafts, as well the NCAA Frozen Four. Merz currently is a freelance writer for the Associated Press,, Buckeye Sports Bulletin, and Columbus Monthly among others.

Bob Hunter has been a sportswriter for the Columbus Dispatch for almost forty years. During that time, he has written about all sports, including hockey and the Columbus Chill. Hunter is the author of eight books, including The History and Fanaticism of Ohio State Football, and has won numerous writing awards. He currently resides in Westerville, Ohio.