Ice, Ice Baby

When Paula Weston interviewed Ohio State men’s hockey coach Mark Osiecki, he mentioned that there were tenative plans to build a hockey-only arena on OSU’s campus.

Indeed, discussion of a “new stand-alone 3,000 seat ice rink west of Olentangy River Road, northeast of the Schottenstein Center” was included in the Buckeye’s Athletic Department Facilities Master Plan released in 2008. The idea was to move the Jack Nicklaus Museum to a site more accessible to the public, and build the rink where the museum once stood.

However, the fact that Osiecki is now talking about it is noteworthy.

Is it an indication that a new arena is close at hand? Not necessarily, says Executive Associate Athletics Director Ben Jay, who described it as still being “some time away.”

Jay included it on a list of four projects important to the Buckeye’s vision for a new athletic district. (The others involving Biggs Athletic Training Facility, French Fieldhouse and the newly announced Covelli Arena.)

Although plans for the athletic district are evolving as information is gathered (a study of the area’s traffic patterns, for instance, is currently underway), Jay feels that Ohio State would benefit from having an intimate home for hockey.

His hope is that a new arena would be a loud, electric venue where the women’s team could play and the men could skate when they weren’t using the Schottenstein Center.

Done right, Jay feels that it could help make OSU hockey a must-have ticket. “We sell out a few times,” he said, “and create demand.”

COURT PROCEEDINGS

Another undertaking for the Buckeyes will be the installation of a new basketball court at the Schottenstein Center. The goal for the building’s GM, Mike Gatto, is to have the new floor down before the Ohio State men tip off against Kansas.

There will be a silhoutte of the state of Ohio at center court. It will be similar to what Illinois has in that respect.

A hat tip to Jeff Svoboda. He’s the one who gave me a heads up regarding Weston’s excellent look at Osiecki’s efforts to grow his sport here in Columbus

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