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  • Writer's pictureDave Cottenie

Value City Arena at Jerome Schottenstein Center – Ohio State Buckeyes


Photos by Dave Cottenie, Stadium Journey


Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.71

Value City Arena at Jerome Schottenstein Center 555 Borror Dr Columbus, OH 43210



Year Opened: 1998 Capacity: 17,500

 

Buckeyes on Ice


Taking the ice for the first time in 1963, the Ohio State Buckeyes began a long, yet not illustrious tenure in College Hockey.  Not a part of the three M’s of College hockey (Michigan, Massachusetts and Minnesota), Ohio State has seen various degrees of success which have culminated in appearances in the Frozen Four in 1998 and 2018.  The Buckeyes have enjoyed conference championships in 1972 and 2019 and tournament championships in 1972 and 2004 while participating in the NCAA tournament ten times.  The Buckeyes were a charter member of the original CCHA conference in 1971 and the Big Ten hockey conference in 2013.  The most accomplished hockey alumnus of Ohio State is Ryan Kesler, who went on to play over 1,000 games in the NHL.


The Ohio State hockey team shares its home, Value City Arena @ Jerome Schottenstein Center, with the school's basketball team.  Opened in 1998 and with a capacity of 17,500, Value City Arena is not the most ideal home for Buckeye hockey, but does give the team more of a major league feel playing in a large arena.  The Schott, as it is sometimes referred, is named after Columbus businessman and philanthropist, the late Jerome Schottenstein who helped make the arena possible with a $12.5 million gift.  Schottenstein is known for founding Schottenstein Stores Inc, which operated a number of Value City furniture and department stores.  Ohio State University was founded in 1870 and currently boasts over 60,000 students in Columbus, Ohio.


Food & Beverage 4

The Schott does offer a good variety of concession options for fans.  All of the expected arena items can be found along with a number of more unique and upscale items.  Fowl At Play offers a variety of grilled and fried chicken options along with funnel cake fries; Sear and Stack offers gourmet burgers and texas tenderloin; Brutus’ Best offers chimichurri veggie subs, club sandwiches and jalapeno sausage; Ooey Gooey Grilled Cheese offers grilled cheese concoctions; Donato’s Pizza has pizza and sub offerings; and Scarlett Grill has fries and chicken tenders.  The soft drink of choice at Value City Arena is in the Coca-Cola family.  Many stands offer self-serve fountain drink stations, which is fairly unique.  Beer offerings are fairly limited with Coors Light, Michelob Ultra and Modelo being the brands available.


Atmosphere 3

The Jerome Schottenstein Center has a large, hulking exterior that makes it look like a major league venue.  The exterior has a mix of brown brick and windows on the entry points with turret-like points on the corners, and a central structure that is covered in grey siding.  The exterior is well kept and attractive.


After fans enter the building, they are brought into the main concourse.  The concourse gives fans a bit of a Joe Louis Arena feel.  The councourses are dominated by painted block walls and bright colours.  There is not much in the way of natural light that enters the councourses and unlike Joe Louis Arena, the concourses are neat and dominated by scarlett, grey and white colors, including on the floors.  Inside the seating bowl, the ice runs from west to east with the perfect spot for the picture of the center ice logo, from the north side.  The seating bowl is two-tiered with a separated lower bowl.  The upper deck is curtained off to give a bit more of an intimate feel to the venue.  The seats in the east end are also covered with a large “Buckeye Hockey”sign. The videoboard at centre ice is decent, but not overly huge and the upper deck fascia features LED ribbon boards and there are videoboards in the upper corners.  The east side of the arena also features the Ohio State hockey banners.  Grouped banners hang for the NCAA Tournament appearances, Frozen Four appearances, CCHA season and tournament championships, and Big Ten Championships.  Individual banners hang for the 2019 Big Ten season championship, 1998 and 2018 Frozen Four and the honoured number of Paul Pooley.  Pooley played 15 games in the NHL and is the Buckeyes leading scorer. 


The gameday atmosphere is what one would expect for a college hockey game.  The game that was reviewed was during the winter break and the campus was quiet.  Normally the student section would have a presence and the band would also be a part of the experience. 


Clearly the worst part of an Ohio State hockey game is the seating area.  The seats in Value City Arena are cushioned, but low to the ground and very narrow.  For fans who may be above average in height or stature, it is not a comfortable experience at all.  Finding seats that are in a less populated area may be the best idea to be able to spread out.



Neighborhood 5

Jerome Schottenstein Center is located on the campus of Ohio State University, in the Olentangy West neighborhood of Columbus.  Columbus is an excellent city to spend some time in and taking in an Ohio State game should be part of it.  There are a number of spots that are not too far from the arena for pre or post game food and drink.  Some options include Brassica in Upper Arlington, The O on Lane, Varsity Club, Bravo, and Mirror Lake Eatery as well as a plethora of national chain restaurants.


Columbus is a fantastic place for the sports fan.  Ohio State fields a full complement of college teams including basketball, baseball, and the pride of the state, football at Ohio Stadium.  Other sports options include the Columbus Blue Jackets of the NHL, Columbus Crew of MLS and Columbus Clippers of MiLB.  Other tourist options include the Jack Nicklaus Museum, Arnold Swartzenegger bronze statue, Franklin Park Conservatory, COSI, Ohio State Capital and the German Village.  For fans who wish to stay near The Schott, the SpringHill Suites and Blackwell Inn are close options.


Fans 3

Support for Ohio State hockey is decent.  In the 2023 season, the Ohio State Buckeyes averaged 4,500 fans per game, which ranked them 6th in the Big Ten Conference and 16th in the NCAA.  As of this writing, in the 2024 season, the Buckeyes have averaged 5,000 fans per game, which ranks 5th in the Big Ten and 15th in the NCAA.  There is definitely room for improvement, especially since Ohio State boasts one of the largest buildings in the country.  The game that was reviewed was during the winter break and it is assumed that when the students are on campus, their presence is felt and provides for a better ambience.

 

Access 4

Value City Arena is located on the campus of Ohio State University in the Olentangy West neighbourhood of Columbus.  It is just west of the Olentangy River, north of I-670 and west of I-71.  Highway 315 essentially bisects the campus, so getting to Ohio State is not that difficult.  There is plenty of space available for parking, at a cost, close to the arena.  For fans who desire to take public transit, there are bus stops that run along Olentangy River Road and Lane Ave.  Fans should consult the Central Ohio Transit Authority website for fares, maps and schedules.  Getting around Schottenstein Center is not too difficult based on the average attendance and the washroom facilities are adequate.


Stadium Journey recognizes that security protocols for major sporting events are constantly changing.  Currently, Ohio State uses a “No Bag” Policy.  Stadium Journey encourages all fans to consult the Schottenstein Center website for the most up to date security procedures and protocols including bag policy and prohibited items.



Return on Investment 4

College hockey offers great value for the sporting dollar and Ohio State is no different.  Non-conference game tickets for adults begin at $12 and go up to $20 for adults.  Discounts can be found for students, seniors and children.  Conference and premier games, including Michigan games, top out at $25 and $30 respectively.  Concession prices are about what one would expect.  Parking comes at a price, but it is not exorbitant.  The product on the ice is solid.  The biggest drawback comes down to the lack of comfort in the seats.


Extras 3

An extra mark for the rivalry that Ohio State shares with that team up north, even in hockey.


An extra mark for the helmets for the Buckeyes, which mimic the helmets of the football team, the same grey with scarlet stripe down the middle.


An extra mark for the unique branding of the Buckeyes.  Many outside of Ohio are unaware that a buckeye is actually a chestnut.


Final Thoughts

Columbus, Ohio is a significantly underrated city to visit.  There is no doubt that one of the centerpieces of Columbus is Ohio State.  Fans should not sleep on Ohio State Buckeyes hockey at Value City Arena @ Schottenstein Center.  It’s a great experience and one that college hockey fans need to consider.


Follow all of Dave’s sporting adventures on YouTube, Twitter, Threads and Instagram @profan9.




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