A Winter Classic at The Shoe?
According to TSN's Insider Trading, NHL officials were in Columbus over the weekend to conduct a site survey of Ohio Stadium as a potential host of the Winter Classic.
"I'm sure the Columbus Blue Jackets are looking forward to this becoming official," TSN Hockey Insider Darren Dreger said. "It's not official yet. It's in the preliminary stages."
INSIDER TRADING with @DarrenDreger & @PierreVLeBrun— TSN Hockey (@TSNHockey) November 14, 2023
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The Blue Jackets, Coyotes, Panthers, and Kraken are the four teams in the NHL that have yet to play an outdoor game. However, that number will decrease to three after the Seattle Kraken host the Vegas Golden Knights at T-Mobile Park, the home of the MLB's Seattle Mariners, at the 2024 NHL Winter Classic.
The Ducks, Canadiens, Knights, and Lightning join the Blue Jackets and Kraken as the teams that have not hosted an outdoor game.
The Blue Jackets have long been interested in hosting an outdoor game at Ohio Stadium, but issues with logistics, scheduling and the much-publicized winterization of the venue have gotten in the way.
However, NHL executive vice president Steve Mayer told The Athletic's Aaron Portzline in November 2022 that he believes Ohio Stadium will be winterized.
“I believe fully that it’s gonna get solved, I really do,” Mayer said of the stadium being winterized. “I think it’ll happen.”
The cost to winterize Ohio Stadium — “We’re talking millions of dollars, not hundreds of thousands,” Mayer said — has been deemed too cost-prohibitive if the only return on investment for Ohio State is a portion of the money raised by one weekend of outdoor hockey games.
A Winter Classic at Ohio Stadium would be quite the scene.