hockey arenas

Things I Will Miss About the Joe

1. The sight lines.
2. The intimate atmosphere.
3. The memories.
4. The fact that you know you’re in a hockey arena when you walk in.

Things I Will Not Miss About the Joe

1. Tiny concourse.
2. Tiny aisles.
3. Lack of bathrooms, especially pre-upstairs super bathroom.
4. Stairs of death. Outside and inside.
5. Arguably the most poorly designed arena of all time.

I love the Joe, but I’m ready for the fancy new digs.

NurseyWeek Prompt #3 - Challenge.


“Oh, it is fucking on, bros,” Lardo shouts over the incessant thumping of the bass. “You two are going to get obliterated.” She points an emphatic finger at Ransom and Holster, who stand shoulder to shoulder on the other side of the beer pong table. Holster cups his hand over his chin, rubbing it thoughtfully, and side-eyes Ransom.

“She shouldn’t be able to say words like ‘obliterated’ three cups of tub juice in,” he says. Ransom is just beginning to nod in agreement when he’s beaned smack in the middle of his forehead with a ping pong ball. Holster gets hit in the same spot half a second later, sending both of them reeling back, spluttering.

“You know, I figured four years was enough time for the two of you to learn not to underestimate my abilities,” Lardo says, tossing another ping pong ball up in the air. She cocks an eyebrow and catches the ball, meeting their gazes. “My mistake. Clearly, you need another lesson.”

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5

The Chicago Blackhawks played their final game at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit tonight. Opened in 1979, the NHL Red Wings ownership made a bold move locating the arena in downtown Detroit when the city was attempting to revitalize the district amid crumbling urban blight. Around the same time, the NFL Lions and the NBA Pistons fled the city for Pontiac, Michigan, some 30 miles outside of downtown Detroit. My first visit to Detroit was 1980 when I attended a jazz festival in downtown Detroit. From that point, I spent the next  two decades traveling to Detroit for business on a regular basis. The Joe was the first NHL stadium outside of Chicago that I ever visited. I went to many games during those twenty years and still have vivid memories of seeing Steve Yzerman play in his rookie year. Having grown up a Blackhawks fan in Chicago during the “Original Six” era, I always loved the rivalry between the Hawks and the Wings. And having been to some other stadiums around the league, I have to say that Blackhawks and Red Wings fans are the most enthusiastic. Now, with the Blackhawks separated from the rest of the Original Six by conferences, they only play Detroit twice a year, once in each city. So the rivalry is gone and now The Joe will be gone. However, with the new arena opening later this year, the good news for Detroit is that now all the major sports teams - Red Wings, Pistons, Lions and Tigers - are all in the same vicinity, straddling the line between the Downtown and Midtown districts. Along with the Fox Theater, the Casino, and some good bars and restaurants, the city center has finally become the entertainment destination they were hoping to be back during my first visit in 1980.

10

On Sunday, April 9, the Detroit Red Wings played their last game at Joe Louis Arena and they went out big with celebrations by fans and current and former Red Wings. They also bid farewell with a 4-1 win over the New Jersey Devils.

The Red Wings are scheduled to begin the 2017-18 season at the new Little Caesars Arena, a multi-purpose sports complex currently under construction a few miles north of the Joe.