Hockey’s History in Columbus

Pro, high school and youth hockey has had a home in Columbus for more than 50 years. Like the building the Columbus Checkers called home in 1966, Columbus’ love for the game is still standing. Central Ohio is home to an NHL franchise, two Division I teams and demand that continues to drive growth for the sport in the city.


Fast Facts | Local Teams | Notable People | Venues | Timeline | Blogs

Major Events Hosted

Future Events

2015 NHL All-Star Weekend

Originally slated to host in 2013, Columbus’ All-Star Weekend was delayed for two years following an NHL lockout and Olympic year.

2005 NCAA Men’s Frozen Four

Denver defeated a field of North Dakota, Minnesota and Colorado College in Columbus’ first Frozen Four at the Jerome Schottenstein…

2007 NHL Entry Draft

Big names came off the board at Nationwide Arena, including American hockey legend Patrick Kane

OHSAA State Championships

Since 2003, Columbus has hosted the Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA) State Ice Hockey Championships. The 2014 version of…

Upcoming Events

Fast Facts

  • Columbus’ professional hockey history began in 1966 with the Columbus Checkers (IHL) taking on the Chicago Blackhawks (NHL). Thirty years later, the Columbus Blue Jackets (NHL) made their NHL debut against the same team.
  • The Blue Jackets got their name from a Wendy’s “Name the Team” promotion that solicited 14,000 submissions. The winning moniker pays homage to Ohio’s contributions as a uniform manufacturer in the Civil War.
  • Seven NHLers have roots in Columbus: Kole Sherwood, Kiefer Sherwood, Carson Meyer, Connor Murphy, Cole Sillinger, Sean Kuraly and Justin Richards.
  • Union General William T. Sherman of Lancaster, Ohio led the “March to the Sea” in Georgia in 1864. The fiery, destructive march against the confederacy gave the Atlanta Flames (NHL) a name in 1971. That Ohio civil war connection stuck when the team became the Calgary Flames in 1980.
  • Columbus offers multiple levels of hockey (NHL, NCAA, USPHL, AAA) and adaptations for the sport, including sled, blind, roller and floor.


Local Teams

The Blue Jackets have made five playoff appearances since joining the league in 2000, famously sweeping the No. 1 seeded Lightning in 2019. If you’re in the Arena District on a game night and hear a cannon blast, that means the home team just scored!

The Buckeyes started as a Division I program in 1999. Less than 25 years later, they won their first national championship in 2022. Their championship came on their third consecutive Frozen Four appearance. Ohio State has had 11 Olympians and three first-team All-Americans.

Ohio State’s has had a men’s hockey team since 1963, spanning two conferences (CCHA & Big Ten) and nine coaches. The Buckeyes have a pair of regular season conference championships, conference tournament championships and NCAA Frozen Four appearances.

Fifteen Columbus-area schools compete in the Capital Hockey Conference for a chance to play for the state title on Nationwide Arena’s ice at the end of the year.

Rick Nash

The only player to have his jersey retired by the Blue Jackets, he was a first overall pick, captain and NHL All-Star. He holds CBJ…

Nadine Muzerall

In her first six seasons at the helm, Muzerall guided the Buckeyes to three Frozen Fours and a National Championship. She has been…

Johnny Gaudreau

‘Johnny Hockey’ signed an eight-year contract with the Blue Jackets in 2022. The six-time NHL All-Star instantly became the most…

John Haferman

An NHL Willie O’Ree Community Hero Award finalist, he has introduced 30,000+ kids to the game through the Columbus Ice Hockey Club…


  • 1966 // Oct. 12, 1966 – The Columbus Checkers (IHL) host the Chicago Blackhawks (NHL) at the Ohio Expo Fairground Coliseum  
  • 1971 // The Columbus Golden Seals (IHL) replaced the Checkers, playing two seasons under owner Charlie Finley, who owned the Oakland A’s and California Golden Seals (NHL)
  • 1973 // The Columbus Owls replaced the Golden Seals (IHL), lasting only four years 
  • 1991 // The Columbus Chill (IHL) filled a 14-year hockey void for Columbus, known more for their outlandish promotions than their on-ice results  
  • 1997 // June 25 - Columbus is awarded an NHL franchise along with Nashville, Atlanta and St. Paul 
  • 2000 // Oct. 7 – The Blue Jackets drop the puck for the 2000-01 NHL season against the Chicago Blackhawks
  • 2005 // Columbus hosted Denver, Colorado College, Minnesota and North Dakota for the NCAA Men’s Frozen Four 
  • 2006 // The Ohio Junior Blue Jackets embark on a two-year tenure in the United States Hockey League (USHL), the nation’s only Tier 1 junior hockey league 
  • 2007 // Columbus hosts the NHL Entry Draft  
  • 2015 // Jan. 24-25 – Columbus hosts NHL All-Star Weekend 
  • 2022 // March 20 – The Ohio State Women’s Hockey team wins its first national championship in program history 


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