The Columbus Dispatch
Buckeyes excited about proposed new ice rink
Despite growing Ohio State women’s hockey into a consistent national contender, coach Nadine Muzerall said there was one thing many other college programs held over the Buckeyes on the recruiting trail: their home ice rink.
While not ungrateful for their current accommodations, Muzerall concedes her team plays in “the ugliest rink in the country.”
“Does it hurt recruiting?” she asked rhetorically. “Absolutely. We’ve lost some good players because of it. And I know we’re the Ohio State, and I don’t want to lose players due to a facility because we’re the best athletic department in the country, and we should have the best facilities.”
On Feb. 16, the Ohio State University Board of Trustees approved a plan to start designing a new home for the Buckeyes. According to the meeting’s agenda, construction would begin in June 2024 with the facility opening in April 2026.
The project would include team locker rooms, an athletic lounge, spaces for team dining, support services, offices for the coaching staff, areas for team training, and expansion of spectator seating capacity and broadcasting capabilities.
The budget for a new women’s ice rink is to be determined, but the Board of Trustees approved $2.7 million to start the design process, which will determine the full scope, programming and project cost.
The rink would be located on Ohio State’s athletic campus near the Covelli
Center, Ohio State Lacrosse Stadium and the Ty Tucker Tennis Center off Fred Taylor Drive.
After Muzerall took over the program in 2016 and led the Buckeyes to a fifth-place finish in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, Ohio State has finished third or better in the conference in the past five seasons, making the Frozen Four two times before winning the 2022 national championship.
Now, in 2023, Ohio State secured its first WCHA regular-season title and will take on Minnesota Duluth in the WCHA tournament semifinals Friday at 2 p.m. Minnesota and Wisconsin will meet in the other semi, and the championship game is Saturday at 3 p.m.
To Muzerall, the rink is another important aspect of her program’s cultural “blueprint,” a sign the team is building a legacy.
“Now, I feel like they have very little that they can say about us because we’ve been doing it all — conference titles, final face-off championships, national championships,” Muzerall said. “I just think it’s only going to enhance our recruiting because why wouldn’t you choose the Ohio State?”