Old. Crowded. Smelly. Dilapidated. Dirty. All apt ways of describing Joe Louis Arena
But there’s one more. After attending the NYE game against the Blues, I remembered that it’s probably the best place to watch a game in the league and I pray they don’t move out of it anytime soon.
There’s been a lot of talk about the Wings getting a new arena in downtown Detroit, but I certainly hope that’s not the case.
Hit the jump for the reasons behind my plea.
Hockey isn’t meant to be played in pristine arenas. Nationwide Arena, home of the resident last place Blue Jackets is a great example. What a building that is. Beautiful, large, comfortable, easy to get around.
But, around here, mostly it’s known as a boring place to watch a game in. It’s like sitting in your living room, but with a bigger TV. So many distractions to take you away from the game on the ice and so little to keep you focused on the main event. Plus it’s so nice, it’s like you shouldn’t get too rowdy for fear of breaking the nice china. It feels more like a dance club as compared to your favorite dive bar down the street. Sure, Montes might look nicer, but I’d rather have a shot of Jack with the boys at the Anchor.
It’s not just a bad team with a bad fanbase. Pittsburgh is a perfect example of what horrifies me about possibly moving into a new arena. The idea that it might be a tomb like Consol Energy Center, the Pens new home, is frightening. Consol looks like a beautiful place. But it’s made to be great at keeping the suits comfortable, not great at keeping fans into the game. When Detroit played Pittsburgh a few weeks ago, the only noise you could hear was the sound of the skates on the ice and the whimpers of red-lipped crybaby coming from the press box. Even Pens fans are complaining.
Remember Mellon Arena, that dump? Well I’m sure it was a hell of a lot of fun to be at. Loud, dirty, and historic. What a place to play and watch a game.
But Pittsburgh had to move. The arena was tiny and simply didn’t supply the money needed to run a professional team. Detroit doesn’t have these needs. The Joe is still the third largest in the league. It has a sufficient supply of luxury boxes, even if they are up high. The sightlines are still the best I’ve seen in the league. Every seat has a great view.
A new arena would eliminate the rowdiness, fun atmosphere that we have come to know and love about the Joe. It’d attract a new cliental which wouldn’t be good for the team or city. And that’s not even including the fact that I’m sure a new arena would carry a sponsored name. Amway Center doesn’t have the same ring to it as Joe Louis Arena.
So I think Ilitch has to do whatever he can to keep the Joe. I think it makes sense long term. I agree a SERIOUS renovation needs to be done, maybe even one which would make them move to the Palace for a season. But today, the Joe still delivers the goods. And with a little work, it still would for the near future.