New hockey arena at Ohio State will be for women’s team, not men’s

Henry Palattella, The Columbus Dispatch
Ohio State women's hockey coach Nadine Muzerall works with her team on Wednesday, January 24, 2018 at the OSU Ice Rink. [Jonathan Quilter / Dispatch]

When Ohio State unveiled plans for renovations of the north campus athletic district in May 2017, a new rink for the men’s and women’s hockey teams was among the features.

In the 30 months since, that plan has changed.

Although Ohio State is moving ahead with the plan to build a 2,500-seat hockey facility, it will be only for the women’s team, said Shaun Richard and Diana Sabau, who oversee men’s and women’s hockey at Ohio State.

The men will continue to play at Value City Arena, as it has since 1998.

Richard said the main reason for the change was a lack of space for fans at men’s games.

“The men’s team’s average attendance last year was 6,500, so (the new arena) wasn't going to service us properly for men's ice hockey,” he said. “We’re excited about the Schottenstein Center, and that's where we'll continue to play men's ice hockey.”

Ohio State plans to close the upper deck during men’s games, which would cap attendance at 7,700.

The women’s team has played at the OSU Ice Rink, adjoining St. John Arena, since its inaugural season in 1999-2000. The new arena would put the team in the center of Ohio State’s revamped athletic district, and it would represent a significant upgrade over the Ice Rink, which has a seating capacity of 1,415.

“Having the women’s team over in that part of campus is a disadvantage for them,” Sabau said. “We want to move them to the district.”

Sabau says the university has yet to determine where the arena will be built.

“We want to make sure that wherever we put it, we are doing what's best for our student-athletes but also doesn't reduce parking and inconvenience the fans that will be coming there,” she said.

The athletic district renovations began with the opening of the Schumaker Student-Athlete Complex in December 2018, followed by the opening of the Covelli Center and Jennings Family Wrestling Practice Facility this summer.