Let’s keep The Joe

Built in 1979, Joe Louis Arena has been home to exciting hockey moments and Detroit’s Stanley Cup champions.

Two Stanley Cup celebrations, two beatings of Patrick Roy and a double-overtime goal nobody will ever forget, all of which occurred inside Joe Louis Arena.

It’s the house Steve Yzerman built. It’s where Sergei Fedorov dazzled, Bob Probert punched, and Scotty Bowman coached, a cluster of fond memories inside the hockey mecca of the NHL that still echo today across the Detroit River.

And now you want another rink?

Sorry, but the idea of a new home for the Wings isn’t appealing. For those of us born post-1975, “The Joe” is all we know, and it has its unique specialties.

The riverfront entrance. The view of Canada. The breeze off the Detroit River after a spring playoff victory.

This is where Mo Cheese danced to the Three Stooges, The Brow pressed silly signs against the plexiglass, and the Orange Hat Guy smiled from section 112, row 7, seat 5.

We heard chants of “OZ-ZIE,” and “DI-NO,” and “Harrrrr-ollllld.”

We saw Jacques Demers end the Dead Wings era, Scotty Bowman build a dynasty, and Mike Babcock bring home another Cup.

Hardcore hockey fans marveled at Chicago Stadium and Maple Leaf Gardens because of their vintage, old-school designs, how they were the NHL’s oldest rinks.

Now Joe Louis Arena is the “ancient one,” so why not let it stand for decades?

Constructed in 1979, the sight lines bring fans closer to the puck than any modern-day stadium. It’s a structural home-ice advantage that makes opponents feel like they’re inside a fishbowl, as the roaring Wings fans hover above.

“The fans are right on top [of] you,” Nicklas Lidstrom told Ted Kulfan of the Detroit News in 2010. “It’s a fun place to play for us. Maybe not as much if you’re the road team.”

Don’t drink the Kool-Aid and believe a new rink will magically solve Detroit’s financial woes. It might create a neat area around the Fox Theatre, but there’s still numerous abandoned buildings throughout downtown Detroit along with a struggling economy.

So let’s keep The Joe, a special place with too many fond memories to leave behind!

We saw Darren McCarty’s Cup-clinching goal in Game Four of the ’97 Cup Finals. We saw Yzerman hoist the Cup with his missing tooth, the painful past memories in his championship wake.

This is where Scotty Bowman hoisted his ninth and final Cup in June of 2002, and where Budd Lynch’s voice echoes through the rafters, God bless his soul.

And remember: the shiny car (new stadium in this case) might seem sexy and attractive, but nothing beats the old classic (Joe Louis Arena).

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About Bruce Mason

Bruce Mason's work has appeared on blogs such as allpuck.com and obnoxiousfan.com. A Detroit native, he worked part-time at the Detroit News in 2006-07, freelanced for Crain's Detroit Business, and is now a five-time award winning writer at a daily paper in Idaho.