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.
I'm probably going to be the odd man out on this one, but I really can't wait till we leave the Joe. I really do love the place and have some great memories there, but it's really starting to show its age and the location absolutely sucks. I do fear a new arena being ugly and without character, but I think this organization is smart enough to build something that is modern, but keeps the old charm of the Joe. I would actually really like them to do some homage to Olympia. Plus I think the proposed location (north of I-75 wedged between Downtown and Midtown) has the potential to spur a lot of economic development in the area. I'm certainly glad the Illitch Pistons thing fell through. The only hockey game I ever want to see being played at the Palace is the Vipers.
Hello all. I love that this is a thread because I have actually been seaching Google the last few days looking for updates. I live outside of Philly, and have only made it out to the Joe once, last year, for the Wings/Flyers game. Walking into the place was one of the best times of my life, being that I have watched so many games on TV that were played in the Joe. Walking the concourse, while small, was awesome, with the statues of the Production Line, and the current players painted onto the pillars.
With that said, there was something lacking with the place. Don't take this the wrong way, but I feel like the production (the music during stoppages and warmups comes to mind) left me wanting more. I know when I go to Flyers games, that sound system is blaring hard rock like Guns N Roses, Metallica, Disturbed etc, and that gets the crowd into it. I feel like the Joe is more "family friendly". Not bashing it, just not my style I guess.
I loved the Joe, and I am looking forward to Feb 10th-13th when a few of my friends (Flyers fans all) and myself come out to see the Wings/Ducks and Wings/Flyers games.
Sorry for the length of this novel. Go Wings!!!
@behood19 I'm a big fan of grabbing some food in Greektown whenever I go to a game. I'll usually grab something at the Laikon Café and then walk down to Fishbones and take their free "shuttle" (it's really an old school bus, but the atmosphere is great with all the fans). You could also stop at Lafayette Coney Island and get some Detroit style coney dogs.
@behood19 Though I can't offer any suggestions for hang outs (unless casinos are your thing) I must say you hit the nail on the head by giving a great example of why the JLA needs to be gone or changed drastically.
The teams success over the last two decades has led to a lot of great and legendary memories but has also given complacency to the fans. I can tell you for sure that the game I went to at the Pepsi Center was far more enthralling and entertaining than the recent Red Wing's game I was at. BUT... when my Dad use to take me to Wing's games when I was just a young buck the Joe was absolutely insane. Keep in mind this was in the early 90's and the city was all about the Red Wings... I can remember it being far more enthusiastic and energetic than it ever gets outside of playoff time now days.
This might make people upset here but the energy levels from the fans at JLA are near the bottom in the league. Even if they are sold out. Most fans are simply not as excited as they were years ago when winning ways were not normal... but I do think a big change in venue or at least renovations could increase the "intimacy" or at least how much fans feel they are involved in the game....
And that is my main point... JLA does not involve a fan in the game like newer arenas do, I think it would be a wise decision to change something.
As much as I like JLA and have the same sentiments as everyone here... I can NOT agree with the idea that a new arena would be a bad change for the team.
The old Olympia was the epitome of old time hockey... I am sure people thought the same way we do back then. Scorning the move to the JLA. And look at what has happened.
Now if there is the possibility of renovation that would actually drastically change the Joe I would be in favor. I went to my first game in 10 years last year and the Joe really does suck for what amenities it provides. As for atmosphere it was great.
I went with my wife who had never been to a game and she stated that she didn't feel compelled to ever go back because it was so dirty. My other buddy, who is 300lbs plus realistically can not sit through a game comfortably. Not to mention the restrooms and other stuff.
Several years ago I was in Colorado when the Blues were in town. Dallas Drake gave us some tickets and I got to see that arena and was amazed how much better the whole experience is when there is a great atmosphere created by the arena itself.
Just my $.02
@magnum9 This is going to sound wired and argumentative (I don't intend it to be, I'm not going to try to change your opinion, just defending the Joe, so I'm throwing up this disclaimer and i think after the last paragraph you'll understand my objection), but its dirty because of the sheer number of people and what they do in the building, not because its never cleaned and is dirty for the sake of being dirty. I work at a Meijer store that is often considered the red headed step child of the company, but we're consistently in the top 10 in sales of the company. However, it takes much more work to keep my store clean and neat compared to the stores that don't make as much money. We're 22 years old and are constantnly compared the the new stores whose market and customer base is significantly smaller than ours and are therefore 'never good enough' to some big wigs in the company. Along those same lines, there have been 42 consecutive sell outs at the Joe, plus other events like Smackdown last week. Anyone who thinks that building should be spotless after that many games and events over all of these years is being unreasonable. Unless you're the first person to enter the Joe on game day, its never going to be perfect.
Sorry, that's my giant pet peeve after 4 years with Meijer and everyone putting down my store, saying its not good enough because it isn't always pretty. I feel the same way about the Joe. It doesn't have to be pretty or new to be enjoyable. I'll defend the Joe to anyone even if its not warranted.
@ChrissyKraceva I understand what you are saying but it is clear you missed the point I was making...
For us die hard Wing's fans the atmosphere at the JLA is nothing short of historic and incredible. But the reality beyond the die hard fan is that watching a game at the Joe is not as enjoyable as it could be because amenities and cleanliness make the experience as much as the action on the ice.
I don't think anyone expects a sports stadium to be "spotless" but age in fact does in fact make it impossible to keep the place as clean as it once was.
This is why I say that if renovation is possible I would put my vote toward that first versus a new arena. But if renovation is too complicated or expensive bring on the new building... it will only usher in a new era of Red Wing's dominance and memories.
I LOOOOVE the Joe. I love that it's name after a person and not a company. I love that you can call it by it's first name. I love all the winning we've done there. I love how bright it is compared to other venues (MSG, the HP Pavillion). I love that I can GUARANTEE you'll see someone stand up and wave at the camera every time the play is in either end. If I had to chose, I would chose renovations over a new arena. However, I could live with a new arena as long as they don't name it after a corporate sponsor. The Wings deserve to play in a world class venue.
I couldn't agree more. I get emotional about this argument so this is going to be long. So what if the men pee in troughs and navigating through the concession lines backed up into the narrow concourse is a sport of its own? In 11 years of going to games, I've never had a bad seat or experience, even when we've lost, I still had fun. I remember always trying to pick out knitting lady and orange hat guy with my mom every game (RIP, all). Those memories and orange seat are a part of important fan history, the majority of us aren't rich; we work hard for the money to see our team and the Joe is a reflection of that. Plus, its got a giant parking garage attached, that's unheard of in downtown Detroit. The building is ugly, old and the stairs in front are terrifying, but it's perfect to watch anything in. Getting rid of it would be a shame, the historic Red Wings shouldn't play in a giant corporate sponsored distraction zone (like the Tigers do in Comerica). Ilitch should buy the property (its still unbelievablely actually owned by the city) and renovate it, it would probably cost the same as building a brand new arena anyway.
@ChrissyKraceva BTW, at the Joe, they chanced one men's bathroom into a women's bathroom by simply adding a handwritten WO at the front of Men. Awesome stuff.
@moorecha ahaha, I've never noticed that. Pretty sure I'll be there for the Sharks/Wings game in Feb. so I'll try to spot it.
And as for the cost, I'm sure Detroit would hike up the cost of that property since they're getting so much money out of it each year, probably way more than the property and business taxes, so they'd have to overcharge Ilitch for it since they're bleeding money making it cost about the same as a new arena. I have a feeling that's why he hasn't just bought it already since he owns half of Detroit as it is...
@ChrissyKraceva It actually would probably cost way less.