Soon the Shoe could be filled with Columbus Blue Jackets fans donned in union blue, not scarlet and grey.
Festivities around the Kraft Hockeyville game between the Columbus Blue Jackets and Buffalo Sabres brought out the big guns of hockey including NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman. In comments to media, Bettman said that Columbus is on the radar for a future outdoor game.
"‘It’s obvious that the team is competitive, that they’re playing exciting hockey, that the fans are reacting in positive ways. It’s even at the point where, internally – we’re not there yet – we have started focusing on the possibility of an outdoor game. So, we view Columbus as a great success story.”"
Two trips to the playoffs in a row and a steadily growing attendance have grabbed the eyes of the NHL brass. Ratings in the Columbus and Ohio media markets continue to grow for hockey viewership and all are starting to get the attention of Bettman and his boys.
Bettman went on to say,
Columbus Blue Jackets
"“There’s a big football stadium there, last time I checked. We’ve put on 24 outdoor games. I think we kind of know what’s involved and we’re excited to see how well Columbus is doing.”"
Yes Gary, there is a big football stadium here.
Columbus Blue Jackets fans have raved for years about how incredible an outdoor game in Ohio Stadium would be not only for the team and Columbus, but for hockey as a whole. It seems like the NHL is getting closer to that conclusion as well.
The Chicago Blackhawks and Boston Bruins are playin the Winter Classic this year in Notre Dame Stadium and the Big House in Ann Arbor has also hosted an outdoor game. It’s time for the greatest cathedral in college football to get it’s chance to host an NHL game.
All of this is great news for fans but still a long way from happening. The Ohio State University and the Columbus Blue Jackets have a contentious history and there is no guarantee that the University would be willing to open the Shoe to such an event.
A possibility like this though would be hard to turn down though. Even with a spotty history, a Winter Classic would bring unprecedented light on the university.
We can see it now, a cloudy sky, slight snow showers and temperatures floating around 25 degrees. A12pm puck drop between Ohio State and Michigan in a Big Ten matchup followed by the Red Wings and Jackets. 108,000 fans packed in the Shoe for six hours of hockey.
Hockey heaven right here in Columbus, Ohio. Make it happen Gary!