ohio stadium rotund

The distance between Nationwide Arena and Ohio Stadium is about three miles, but moving a hockey game past that stretch of downtown, the Short North and the University District will result in an event the likes of which Columbus has never seen.

Yesterday’s announcement that the 2025 Navy Federal Credit Union NHL Stadium Series™ will be hosted by the Blue Jackets and Ohio State at the venerable Horseshoe on March 1, 2025, has already stirred plenty of excitement among CBJ fans.

The first outdoor game in franchise history has been heavily anticipated ever since the NHL started taking the game outside, and the presence of Ohio Stadium has been one of the major reasons.

One of the cathedrals of college football, the stadium recently celebrated its 100th year. The unique horseshoe-shaped design has made Ohio Stadium one of the most instantly recognizable venues in sport, while the Roman-inspired architecture – including columns along the sides of the stadium and a rotunda featuring stained glass – has stood the test of time.

Outdoor Hockey is Coming to Ohio Stadium

The Blue Jackets will host the 2025 Navy Federal Credit Union NHL Stadium Series™ against the Detroit Red Wings on March 1, 2025. Guarantee priority presale access to tickets by becoming a Blue Jackets Season Ticket Holder.

Most Central Ohioans are familiar with the stadium, but what are some fun facts about its history that you might not know? Read on.

The House that Harley Built

While you can’t think of Ohio State these days without thinking of football, it took some time for the Buckeyes to arrive in the big time of the sport.

The first year the school fielded a team was 1890, but .500 teams were the norm for the first decade of play. Michigan wasn’t yet a rival, but the school north of the border quickly became a power, beating OSU by a 34-0 score in the first matchup in 1897; five years later, the famed “Point-a-Minute" Michigan squad beat Ohio State 86-0.

Slowly but surely, though, the school figured it out on the gridiron, but things really took off when Columbus schoolboy hero Charles “Chic” Harley arrived on the scene. The school’s first All-American, he dazzled fans with a ferocious running style that made Ohio State the team to beat in the then-Western Conference (the original name for the Big Ten). With Harley leading the way, the Buckeyes went undefeated in 1916 and ‘17 and beat Michigan for the first time in 1919.

Fans began to overrun the 14,000-seat Ohio Field to see Harley, leading university brass to the conclusion a new stadium was needed. Enter university architect and 1907 graduate Howard Dwight Smith, who envisioned a double-decked, horseshoe-shaped facility with design elements inspired by his visits to Rome to see the Colosseum and Pantheon.

Opened with a seating capacity of over 66,000 in 1922, the stadium upon completion was the largest poured concrete structure in the world, and it earned Smith a 1921 gold medal for public building design from the American Institute of Architects. It has since become one of the most iconic venues in not just college football but sports.

Ohio Beats Michigan

Over the years, the Buckeyes have won hundreds of games in the venerable Horseshoe, but none carry the weight of beating the rival Michigan Wolverines. With the Blue Jackets taking on a Michigan-based foe – the Detroit Red Wings – in the Stadium Series, here are the five most memorable Ohio State wins over U-M in the history of the stadium, per longtime Buckeye Sports Bulletin editor Mark Rea.

2002: In a game that cemented a major change in a rivalry that had been dominated the previous decade by U-M, Jim Tressel’s undefeated Buckeyes rallied in the fourth quarter to beat the Wolverines by a 14-9 score on the way to winning the program’s first national title since 1968.

2006: A historic meeting between the top-ranked Buckeyes and second-ranked Wolverines saw Ohio State build a big first-half lead behind Heisman Trophy-winning QB Troy Smith and hold on to take a 42-39 win.

1974: One year after a memorable 10-10 tie between the teams in Michigan, Tom Klaban kicked four field goals – and Michigan’s Mike Lantry missed a potential winning kick at the end of the game – as the Buckeyes and Heisman winner Archie Griffin grinded out a 12-10 win.

2016: The first overtime game in the history of the rivalry saw J.T. Barrett barely keep the game alive on a fourth-down run in the second OT, then Curtis Samuel sprinted into the end zone to give the Buckeyes a walkoff 30-27 win in front of a record crowd of 110,045.

1961: Is this the game where Woody Hayes memorably suggested he went for two at the end “because I couldn’t go for three”? Bob Ferguson scored four touchdowns and OSU drove 80 yards in the final 30 seconds for a late score, capped off by a two-point conversion pass, as the Buckeyes won 50-20.

But Wait, There’s More

While the stadium is filled on fall Saturdays for Buckeye football, there’s a lot more that’s happened at 411 Woody Hayes Drive over a century of use.

Outside of gamedays, the biggest annual event in Ohio Stadium is graduation day, as thousands of students – including this writer in 2006 – and their friends and family celebrate commencement each spring.

While many Ohio State alums consider the stadium as an unofficial home, some actually used to live inside the structure. Dormitories inside the stadium’s southwest corner opened in 1933, and students lived the stadium dorms all the way until 1999 when a massive renovation of the facility spelled the end of the Stadium Scholarship Dorm.

Also of note, the Blue Jackets and Red Wings will be skating in the same spot where Taylor Swift once played. Swift’s Reputation Tour visited Ohio Stadium on Aug. 16, 2018, bringing almost 63,000 fans to the venue. Others to have played at the stadium include Pink Floyd, U2, The Rolling Stones, George Strait, Metallica, One Direction, Beyonce and Jay-Z.

Ohio Stadium has also been home to professional teams, including the World League of American Football’s Ohio Glory and the first few years of the Columbus Crew soccer club, as well as other OSU sporting events like track and field and lacrosse.

But it’s safe to say that nothing quite like what’s going to happen on March 1, 2025, has yet occurred in the Horseshoe.

Guarantee Your Seat at The Shoe

2024-25 Ticket Plan Holders will receive priority presale access to 2025 Navy Federal Credit Union NHL Stadium Series™ tickets^ before the general public. 

^Tickets subject to availability. Additional terms and conditions will apply.

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