Farewell To The Joe

Joe Louis Arena situated on the Detroit River, is seen in this file photo from 14 February 2011. It was a blank canvass for its 37 years. It now awaits demolition within the coming year.Photo by Ian Shalapata.

Joe Louis Arena situated on the Detroit River, is seen in this file photo from 14 February 2011. It was a blank canvass for its 37 years. It now awaits demolition within the coming year.
Photo by Ian Shalapata.

(DETROIT, MI) – Fans, players, and staff alike paid their respects to Joe Louis Arena yesterday as the final NHL game ever was played in front of 20,027 patrons. The 4-1 victory over the New Jersey Devils belied the final season at The Joe for the Detroit Red Wings.

After 37 years at the often maligned arena, the Wings will miss the playoffs for the first time in 25 years; a full decade after moving into the building in 1979 with a a 3-2 loss to St Louis. Back then, Detroit mayor Coleman Young financed the construction of Joe Louis Area for then owner Bruce Norris. Through the use of bonds, the city of Detroit put forward $57 million; the equivalent of $191 million today.

The spartan Joe Louis Arena featured steep steps and narrow aisles not seen since the Stalin era. Photo by Ian Shalapata.

The spartan Joe Louis Arena featured steep steps and narrow aisles not seen since the Stalin era.
Photo by Ian Shalapata.

The location of the arena was also a sore point for fans and the city of Detroit. Squeezed into a plot of land between the Lodge Freeway, the Detroit River, and Cobo Hall, there wasn’t much benefit to the surrounding neighbourhood in terms of development.

After 936 victories and four Stanley Cup Championships, the Red Wings will move into Little Caesars Arena in the news entertainment district along Woodward Avenue. Located in the vicinity of Ford Field and Comerica Park, the new arena is being built for an outlay of $732 million. The Red Wings will share the facility with the Detroit Pistons basketball franchise, which is playing its last game at the Palace of Auburn Hills tonight.

The new arena is part of a $2 billion project will will include commercial and residential development, while The Joe faces a date with the wrecking ball.

Retired numbers of honoured players were on constant display to those at Joe Louis Arena. Photo by Ian Shalapata.

Retired numbers of honoured players were on constant display to those at Joe Louis Arena.
Photo by Ian Shalapata.

Detroit Red Wings fans were treated to one more win at Joe Louis Arena on 9 April 2017 as the Wings defeated the New Jersey Devils 4-1. Photo by Ian Shalapata.

Detroit Red Wings fans were treated to one more win at Joe Louis Arena on 9 April 2017 as the Wings defeated the New Jersey Devils 4-1.
Photo by Ian Shalapata.

Detroit Red Wings artifacts on display at Joe Louis Arena. Photo by Ian Shalapata.

Detroit Red Wings artifacts on display at Joe Louis Arena.
Photo by Ian Shalapata.

Mr Hockey, Gordie Howe, presided over the concourse at Joe Louis Arena, along with other Red Wing stars. Photo by Ian Shalapata.

Mr Hockey, Gordie Howe, presided over the concourse at Joe Louis Arena, along with other Red Wing stars.
Photo by Ian Shalapata.

Fans at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit line up for refreshments during an intermission on 4 December 2016. Photo by Ian Shalapata.

Fans at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit line up for refreshments during an intermission on 4 December 2016.
Photo by Ian Shalapata.

Evidence of the model hockey franchise hung from the rafters at Joe Louis Arena. Photo by Ian Shalapata.

Evidence of the model hockey franchise hung from the rafters at Joe Louis Arena.
Photo by Ian Shalapata.

Fans at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit line up for refreshments during an intermission on 4 December 2016. Photo by Ian Shalapata.

Fans at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit line up for refreshments during an intermission on 4 December 2016.
Photo by Ian Shalapata.

Ted Lindsay presided over the concourse at Joe Louis Arena, along with other Red Wing stars. Photo by Ian Shalapata.

Ted Lindsay presided over the concourse at Joe Louis Arena, along with other Red Wing stars.
Photo by Ian Shalapata.

 

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About the Author

Ian Shalapata

Ian Shalapata is the owner and publisher of Square Media Group. He covers politics, the police beat, community events, the arts, sports, and everything in between.

His imagery and freelance contributions have appeared in select publications and for organizations in Canada and the United States.

Contact Ian with story ideas.

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