Value City Arena at Jerome Schottenstein Center – Ohio State Buckeyes
Photos by Miles Markiewicz, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.29
Value City Arena at Jerome Schottenstein Center 555 Borror Dr Columbus, OH 43210
Year Opened: 1998 Capacity: 17,500
Pucks at Value City Arena
In the depths of one of the best college football towns in America, college hockey is struggling to make an impact on the community. The Ohio State men’s ice hockey program is going through a transition period with new head coach Steve Rohlik at the helm.
The team is making attempts to return to its success seen under John Markell from 1994-2010, including six NCAA Tournament appearances and one Frozen Four (in 1998).
In 2013, the Big Ten began the formation of an official hockey conference. This will help with branding and the development of all programs in the conference, but the effects have not been felt as of yet in Columbus.
The team plays at Value City Arena at the Schottenstein Center on the campus of The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. It is the largest arena in division one men’s ice hockey with a capacity of 17,500, which works to a huge disadvantage in terms of creating a great game day environment.
The facility is multi-purpose and houses Ohio State basketball and various concerts throughout the year. A shared home is never a good formula for an authentic college experience, especially in the landscape of hockey, which lacks exposure to football and basketball.
Food & Beverage 4
Value City Arena is host to major events throughout the year, so the concessions are stocked with quality food and local vendors. The food is a bit pricey but very tasty. Donatos pizza for $7 is a great value. For $8 you can try an Italian sub, turkey BLT sub, or roasted cauliflower and spinach sub for a healthy option. There’s also a gluten-free option with turkey and Swiss.
Nachos and popcorn are $6 and $4 respectively, or you can have some fresh veggies with red pepper hummus for another healthy option. Soda will cost $4.50-$5.50 depending on size and there’s also Powerade ($4), bottled water ($3.50), and coffee/hot chocolate ($3).
My recommendation is the Roosters menu, specifically the Roosters nest – crispy buffalo chicken tenders and fries topped with melted cheese, bacon, and scallions. For dessert, try a Graeter’s ice cream cup for $6. This ice cream shop started in Columbus and offers some delicious flavors. If you have the time before or after the game, you should visit their location on Lane Avenue.
The average attendance for Ohio State Hockey in 2014-2015 was 4,836. This doesn’t even account for half of the arena, which has an impact on the amount of noise and energy that can be created. The upper bowl is closed and darkened during the action, which makes the arena look a little smaller. Still, not enough energy is created to make this a premier experience.
With that noted, the game is still a lot of fun. You will be able to get a great seat right at center ice which puts you in the middle of all of the great hockey action – there’s still some good talent on the ice coming from a Division I program. Also, Block “O,” the Ohio State student section, makes a great showing and leads the crowd in supporting the team. The band shows up too, which provides some fun songs in between game action.
The best part of your experience will be partaking in the O-H-I-O chant around the arena led by the students. Even with fewer than 5,000 people, it’s still one of the best traditions in college sports. The excitement reaches a pretty high point after a Buckeye goal, but there just aren’t enough people there. In a smaller venue, you could envision a much better environment.
The Ohio State University campus is beautiful, but the venue doesn’t feel like it’s truly on campus. Instead of being surrounded by classroom buildings and dormitories, the arena is near fast food chains and a major highway.
The entire athletic facility is set up this way, with other sports like baseball (Bill Davis Stadium), soccer, and track and field (Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium) playing their games just outside Value City Arena, which is located on the outskirts of campus on the northwest corner. Ohio Stadium feels more like campus, even though it’s not that far away. This area is worth checking out during your visit.
If you’re looking for some great places to meet before the game, look no further than the Varsity Club on Lane and Tuttle. If you’re willing to walk a little farther, there is a Buffalo Wild Wings on Lane and High. The popular chain was originally founded in Columbus. There are also some shops and bars north and west of the arena to check out. If you stick to Lane or High, you can’t go wrong.
Downtown Columbus isn’t too far away from campus and is a great city to explore if you have the time. An arena district is a great place for sports fans, and you may be able to find a date when the Columbus Blue Jackets are in town at Nationwide Arena and catch a hockey doubleheader.
Ohio State Buckeye fans are some of the most passionate people you will ever meet. Football is indeed the heart of the community, but any sport is supported as long as the players wear scarlet and grey. Any look on the big screen above the center ice will show that the fans who do show up to support Ohio State hockey love this team, and get crazy when they score a goal. When another team from Ohio visits, the atmosphere can be even better because the attendance almost doubles.
Near the end of each period, the announcer comes on to say “one minute left in the period” – fans respond with “and Michigan still sucks.” The O-H-I-O chant is awesome and the band does a great job keeping the crowd entertained.
If you end up talking with one of the fans, they’ll be sure to have some great stories for you. I was educated on the Frozen Four run of 1998, which was cool to talk about. Other topics of conversation include moving to a new home for hockey (which is not in the works), the competition of the Columbus Blue Jackets, and news from football and basketball.
Being located right off of Ohio State Route 315, the arena is easy to find. The traffic can get difficult for a men’s basketball game, but for a hockey game, it is easily accessible. The attendants guide you to a parking lot right next to the stadium and parking is free. The entire experience is made better by the ease of this transition from the highway to your seat at the game.
Once inside the venue, finding your seat is made easy because everything is on one level. The seats are comfortable and there should be enough empty seats that you get some space to yourself. There are some tables located around the concourses to enjoy the great food, or just enjoy it at your seat while you watch the game. The arena is set up very well for hockey – there isn’t a bad seat in the house.
Return on Investment 4
Tickets at center ice behind the bench will only cost $15 and are a great place to take in the action. The concessions are a bit pricey, but with free parking and low ticket prices at the ticket office, the investment is well worth it.
One point for participating in Ohio State school songs and the O-H-I-O cheer that is kicked up by the students yelling “Hey stadium – O!” Another point for the pre-game festivities. The entire crowd stands for the starting lineup and fuels some of the most exciting minutes of the game after the puck drops.
This is a program to follow under a new head coach and a history of success in the past. If the team were to reach the Frozen Four again, the exposure would be much higher because of a more technologically attuned society and faster communication. This experience could turn into something great.
Ohio State hockey at the Schottenstein Center may not be one of the best stadium experiences in the country, but it is still a very fun, affordable, and easily accessible experience on the campus of The Ohio State University.