Ohio Stadium To Host 2025 NHL Stadium Series Game Between Columbus Blue Jackets and Detroit Red Wings

By Coby Maeir on February 15, 2024 at 7:00 am
Ohio Stadium will host an NHL Stadium Series game in 2025
Eric Glenn – Shutterstock

Outdoor hockey is finally coming to Ohio’s capital city. The Blue Jackets will host the Detroit Red Wings in a Stadium Series game at Ohio Stadium next season, 1st Ohio Battery has learned. The NHL is expected to make the news official this weekend. 

The game will be played Saturday, March 1, 2025. Columbus becomes the 30th NHL team to play in an outdoor game and will be the 28th team to host a game outside.

The Blue Jackets and Red Wings provide an interesting geographical matchup, as their arenas sit 200 miles apart by car. There’s also the tie-in between the Michigan-Ohio State rivalry that will surely be in the back of fans’ minds during the game. Michigan Stadium hosted the 2014 Winter Classic, and now Ohio Stadium will host the Stadium Series over a decade later, and just two years after the Ohio State and Michigan hockey teams played an outdoor game at Cleveland Browns Stadium in 2023. 

In their 23-year history, the Blue Jackets have played against the Red Wings more than any other NHL opponent.

The Blue Jackets are no stranger to the Wolverines either, as Adam Fantilli, Zach Werenski, Kent Johnson, Nick Blankenburg, and Gavin Brindley are all members of the organization who donned the maize and blue in college. 

Additionally, these two clubs have a history, as Detroit was Columbus’ first playoff opponent, sweeping Columbus 4-0 in the 2009 Western Conference quarterfinals. The head coach of that Detroit team was Mike Babcock, who was the Blue Jackets head coach for 78 days in the 2023 off-season before resigning the week of training camp. 

In their 23-year history, the Blue Jackets have played against the Red Wings more than any other NHL opponent, and have a record of 46-51-1-13 (.477 points %), while the Red Wings are 64-31-1-15 (.649 points%) in those 111 matchups. 

The Blue Jackets, Coyotes, and Panthers, are the three teams in the NHL that have yet to play an outdoor game. The Ducks, Canadiens, Golden Knights, and Lightning join the Blue Jackets as the teams that have not hosted an outdoor game. 

According to TSN's Insider Trading, NHL officials were in Columbus over the weekend of Nov. 11-14 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."

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.

This is a huge deal for not only the Blue Jackets, but hockey in central Ohio.

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