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Wolverines and Buckeyes Come to Cleveland in 2023, but There's a Missed Golden Opportunity

Updated: Sep 20, 2022

While it’s true that football is the primary sport when it comes to the rivalry between the Michigan Wolverines and Ohio State Buckeyes, the hostilities and animosity don’t end there. It extends beyond football into every sport such as baseball, softball, basketball, and hockey.

Named the ‘Faceoff on the Lake’, the two rivals will square off at FirstEnergy Stadium on February 18th 2023. The game will mark the first time the home of the Browns will host a hockey encounter. Since it's going to be Michigan vs. Ohio State, the whole weekend presents a golden opportunity to extend the rivalry beyond the college level to the AHL and NHL, setting up a Michigan-Ohio hockey weekend.

Although the Cleveland Monsters recently moved to the Eastern Conference, they still play their old “friends” from the Central Division in the Western Conference, the Grand Rapids Griffins (AHL affiliate of the Detroit Red Wings) several times a year. Coincidentally, the Monsters are set to play the Griffins at Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids on February 17th, 2023. If the location of this game were to change to Cleveland, it would set up the second of the games.

Recently, I was advocating for the Jackets to play in an annual game known as the “Cleveland Classic”, where the Blue Jackets would make the two-hour drive up to Cleveland to play a game at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse every year against every team in the NHL. Within that avocation, I said the first opponent should be the Pittsburgh Penguins to tie into the Pittsburgh-Cleveland rivalry. However, that sentiment is going to change.

Instead of the Penguins being the first opponent in the “Cleveland Classic,” let’s tie it into the Michigan-Ohio hockey weekend by having the Red Wings play the Blue Jackets at RMFH on February 19th, 2023, completing the trilogy of hockey games between Michigan and Ohio.

The hypothetical Michigan vs Ohio hockey weekend schedule would look as follows:

  • Friday, February 17, 2023: Grand Rapids Griffins at Cleveland Monsters at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.

  • Saturday, February 18, 2023: ‘Faceoff on the Lake’: Michigan vs Ohio State at FirstEnergy Stadium.

  • Sunday, February 19, 2023: Detroit Red Wings at Columbus Blue Jackets in the inaugural game of the “Cleveland Classic” at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse

On February 18th. 2023, ‘‘Faceoff on the Lake’ is going down in the ‘Dawg Pound’ when Michigan and Ohio State drop the puck. There was a golden opportunity to take advantage of the situation and make it a full Michigan vs. Ohio hockey weekend by incorporating the NHL and the AHL alongside college sports. Even though it will not happen it's sure fun to think about!

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