For years, the NHL has been playing special outdoor hockey games across North America in various large, outdoor venues. To a casual fan, Ohio Stadium in Columbus – the home of the Ohio State Buckeyes – would seem like the perfect place to host a game. And based on a recent report, it sounds like the NHL agrees, but the Blue Jackets and the Buckeyes haven’t been able to make it happen.
According to Columbus Blue Jackets insider Aaron Portzline of The Athletic, the hangup appears to be that the 100-year-old Ohio Stadium is not winterized to be able to host cold-weather events.
“While major North American cities have hosted multiple outdoor NHL games, the Blue Jackets and Ohio State haven’t figured out a way to get a game staged in venerable Ohio Stadium. By all accounts, the NHL is tapping its toes, waiting for the green light should the two parties ever get together on this,” Portzline wrote in The Athletic.
“It’s taken so long — the league has played Winter Classic, Stadium Series and Heritage Classic games for 15 seasons now — that these outdoor games have started to lose their luster with some. The snag here in central Ohio is the estimated $8 million price tag to winterize Ohio Stadium so that a game could be played in the depths of winter (remember winter?) without pipes bursting. Neither the Blue Jackets nor Ohio State want to foot the entire bill.”
We’ll have to see if this event ever materializes.