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The USHL Arena & Travel Guide - Nationwide Arena, Ohio Jr. Blue Jackets


Ohio Jr. Blue Jackets

Arena Name: Nationwide Arena
Capacity: 18,500
Built: 2000
Address: 200 West Nationwide Blvd., Columbus, OH 43215
Telephone No: (614) 246-2000
Ice Surface Size: Regulation
Franchise Date: 2006-07
USHL Championships: None
Anderson Cup Championships: None
Colors: Blue, Red & White
Official Web Site:
Unofficial Sites: None
Venue Web Site: Nationwide Arena Google Satellite: Click Here
Former Arenas: None

Nationwide Arena
Nationwide Arena
Dispatch Ice Haus
What's the Arena Like?
Taken in by itself, as a building in a place, there is no better arena in the USHL than Nationwide Arena. There are few arenas in the NHL which can even match Nationwide’s design, comfort, and location within its city. Seating 18,500 for hockey and built at a cost of $175 million dollars, there is no better arena that is used for junior hockey anywhere in the world. It is nicer and more modern than the Pengrowth Saddledome, Rexall Place and the Pacific Coliseum - which are all current or former NHL arenas used for junior - and no junior-only rink can match it, even the John Labbatt Center in London. The Ultimate Sports Road Trip rated Nationwide as the best arena in the NHL.

The centerpiece of the renewed Arena District in downtown Columbus, it is an attractive brick-steel-and glass structure located on brick roads, again, one of the best settings in the National Hockey League, let alone the USHL.

The concourses are well-lit, both naturally in the daytime and artificially at night. A matinee game brings in much light along the concourses, allowing for an atrium-like feel and nice views of downtown Columbus. They are wide and decorated with class.

The main seating bowl in Nationwide Arena houses much of the seating for the building and is one of the best lower levels in the National Hockey League when it comes to comfort and views. The upper deck can be dark, cramped, and a bit sealed off from the action, but these are small complaints and are non-factors with the USHL in town. The video board is as modern as any, and since the arena was built in the last 10 years, all major amenities that fans expect in an NHL arena are here.

It all comes crashing to a halt when the puck drops. While the NHL team draws strong, if not particularly vocal, crowds, the arena sounds like a funeral when the USHL plays. The biggest Blue Jacket crowds are merely in the hundreds and can frequently dip below 100 actual butts in seats. The arena is too big for the USHL – even Lincoln’s crowd would be lost - and the Edge Ice Arena in Chicago would be cavernous for the crowds the Junior BJ’s draw. Even when piggybacking on NHL games, the team struggles to keep fans in the building. The crowds are almost demoralizing to see, a few dozen fans in such a nice and huge arena. This is, simply, one of the nicest arenas in the hockey world, but it is downright pathetic to see a Junior Blue Jackets game in Nationwide.

This is the rub when it comes to the Junior Blue Jackets. Their home arena is the nicest in the league, their atmosphere the worst. The franchise has not endeared itself at all to the local hockey crowd, and even if they did, there still wouldn’t be a drop in a bucket seated in the arena. They are simply minor tenants, the smallest fish in the pond that is their home arena; taking third fiddle to the NHL’s Blue Jackets and Arena Football’s Destroyers. Ohio State’s Schottenstein Center is also a new building, but would also be too cavernous for the USHL, giving the team little option when it comes to moving games locally.

Instead, when Nationwide is unavailable, games are played in the Dispatch Ice Haus. The Ice Haus is home to the Junior B Blue Jackets, and is attached to the Arena itself. It was the first NHL practice facility to be built attached to the main arena for a team, and while a cool concept, is in no way an acceptable home for Tier I hockey.

Concession options are widespread in Nationwide Arena, although most stands will be shut down for USHL play. Donato’s pizza is recommended by the USHL Arena Guide. Merchandise for the junior team is non-exsistent, but since the uniforms of the team closely match their parent franchise, any sporting goods store in central Ohio can get you outfitted for a Junior Blue Jackets game.
Future Developments
There are no plans to renovate or replace Nationwide Arena.
What Is It Like For Away Fans?
Since there is no measurable atmosphere inside of Junior Blue Jackets games, away fans will be unbothered, and if travelling in a group, will most likely be the most vociferous group at the game.

Intimidation Factor:

How To Get There

Hold yer horses! I'll get to this.
Inside Nationwide Arena/Dispatch Ice Haus
Nationwide Arena

Dispatch Ice Haus
Admission Prices
Sides: $16.95
Ends: $15.50
Franchise History
Officially, the Blue Jackets are a moved entity that previously existed in the USHL as the lone Canadian franchise - the Thunder Bay Flyers. The league, however, rarely acknowledges this fact and the team is for all intents and purposes an expansion team that joined the league for the 2006-2007 season.

Local Rivals
The Blue Jackets have yet to develop any heated rivalries, and are the team furthest east in the league. Indiana is a few hours away on I-70, so they get the nod as local rivals.
Place to Eat Near the Nationwide Arena
The Arena district is home to many restaurants and clubs, and has been a major part of downtown Columbus’ revival in the 2000’s. The area will soon be home to the new stadium for AAA baseball’s Columbus Clippers, and while cities around Ohio are still feeling urban decay in the inner city, Columbus is making big strides towards improving itself. While often overlooked when thinking of Ohio, Columbus is its largest city, capital and a very nice town.

All of that aside, the USHL Arena Guide recommends Buca Di Beppo just outside the arena and bd’s Mongolian Grill across the street, but there are many other options. There is a great club for live music called Eddie’s near the arena as well.


If anything is incorrect or you have something to add, please e-mail me at and I'll update the guide.



Copyright � Rob Jaskula 2007-08.
All rights reserved.
Last Revised: February 15, 2008