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The Columbus Blue Jackets – “John H. McConnell” – JHM(SLE)


John H. McConnell: A Steel Magnate, Philanthropist, and Columbus Blue Jackets’ Visionary

In the heart of West Virginia, where coal mines dotted the landscape and dreams seemed to be as distant as the horizon, John H. McConnell was born on March 10, 1923. Little did the world know that this humble beginning would lay the foundation for a man who would not only become a steel magnate but also bring the thrill of major league hockey to Columbus, Ohio.

McConnell’s early life was marked by modesty and hard work. Growing up in a working-class family, he understood the value of perseverance and determination. After serving in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II, McConnell ventured into the steel industry. With only a small investment, he took a leap of faith and founded Worthington Industries in 1955. Despite facing numerous challenges, McConnell’s visionary leadership turned the company into a global player in the steel processing industry.

The journey from a small steel venture to a magnate was not just about financial success for McConnell; it was a testament to his belief in the American dream. His entrepreneurial spirit, coupled with a keen sense of business acumen, paved the way for Worthington Industries to thrive.

However, McConnell’s legacy extends beyond the boardroom. In the mid-1990s, he set his sights on a new horizon—bringing major league hockey to Columbus, Ohio. Recognizing the potential for sports to unite a community and inject a sense of pride, McConnell played a pivotal role in establishing the Columbus Blue Jackets in 1997. His vision and commitment made the dream of having an NHL franchise in Columbus a reality.

McConnell’s determination to bring hockey to Ohio was fueled by a desire to give back to the community that had supported Worthington Industries. He saw the Columbus Blue Jackets not just as a sports team but as a rallying point for the city. The franchise became a symbol of Columbus’ growth and development, both economically and culturally.

Beyond his business ventures, McConnell was deeply committed to philanthropy. One notable example of his generosity was his substantial gifts to the Riverside Heart Hospital in which was renamed to McConnell Heart Health at Riverside Methodist. His contributions were driven by a personal connection to the cause, as he had undergone heart surgery at the hospital himself. In McConnell’s view, philanthropy wasn’t just about giving back; it was about paying it forward. He often reiterated, “You can never pay back, you can only pay forward.” This philosophy underscored his belief in the ripple effect of kindness and the responsibility to contribute to the well-being of others.

The Riverside Heart Hospital became a testament to McConnell’s commitment to healthcare and community welfare. His contributions were instrumental in advancing medical facilities, ensuring that the hospital could continue providing cutting-edge care to those in need. His philanthropic efforts reflected not only a commitment to his community but also a belief in the interconnectedness of humanity.

Family was at the center of McConnell’s life. His love for his family was evident in both his personal and professional endeavors. McConnell’s legacy lives on not only through his business achievements but also through the values he instilled in his family members. His children and grandchildren have carried forward his commitment to community service and philanthropy, ensuring that the McConnell legacy extends far beyond the individual.

Encore Kicks L.L.C., a company dedicated to honoring and paying homage to iconic individuals, recognized the remarkable legacy of John H. McConnell. By creating a collection that celebrates McConnell’s contributions to business, sports, and philanthropy, Encore Kicks L.L.C. has immortalized his impact. The decision to honor Mr. Mac was not just a tribute but a way to inspire future generations to emulate his values of hard work, perseverance, and community service.

In conclusion, John H. McConnell’s life journey from humble beginnings in West Virginia to becoming a steel magnate and visionary owner of the Columbus Blue Jackets is a testament to the American dream. His dedication to his community, philanthropy, and family created a lasting legacy that transcends the business world. Through his timeless philosophy of paying it forward, McConnell’s impact on Columbus and beyond continues to resonate, leaving an indelible mark on the steel industry, the sports world, and the hearts of those he touched.


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