Ohio State has called an audible on its plan for the university’s hockey facilities.
Instead of building a new rink for both the men’s and women’s hockey teams, the men will stay put while a facility will be built for the women’s hockey program, according to The Columbus Dispatch’s Henry Palattella.
The original plan, which was announced in May 2017 as part of a plan for a revamped athletic district, called for a 4,000-seat arena. Since then, the project was downsized to 2,500 seats.
That capacity doesn’t fit the needs of the men’s team, which averaged 6,500 fans per game during the 2018-19 season. Therefore, the Buckeyes will continue to play at Value City Arena at the Jerome Schottenstein Center, which seats 17,500 and has been the men’s hockey team’s home since 1998. The Buckeyes plan to close the upper deck of Value City Arena, which would give it a max capacity of 7,700.
“(The new arena) wasn’t going to service us properly for men’s hockey,” said Shaun Richard, Ohio State’s associate athletic director and administrator for hockey. “We’re excited about the Schottenstein Center, and that’s where we’ll continue to play.”
The women’s hockey team has played at the Ohio State University Ice Rink, which seats 1,415, since the program was formed in 1999. The Buckeyes, who average about 400 fans per game, will get a larger arena while moving into the center of the athletic district.
“Having the women’s team over in that part of campus is a disadvantage for them,” Diana Sabau, Deputy Director of Athletics who oversees women’s hockey, said of the current location. “We want to move them to the district. … We want to make sure that wherever we put it, we are doing what’s best for our student-athletes.”
There is no official site for the new rink. So far, the athletic district has produced the Schumaker Student-Athlete Complex, the Covelli Center and Jennings Family Wrestling Practice Facility.
The women’s hockey is 10-4-4 this season, while the men are 9-4-1.