Terry Foster: Stop Romanticizing Joe Louis Arena, It Was The Worst In The NHL

By: Terry Foster
@terryfoster971

We tend to romanticize everything in this town.

Even a dump like Joe Louis Arena, a hastily built building that failed in so many ways is getting love. I’ve read the tributes to the building from journalist to players and Red Wings management. People are not paying tribute to a building, as much as they are paying tribute to a great organization.

The truth is Joe Louis Arena is one of the worst arenas in the National Hockey League and is not deserving of the name Joe Louis, who is one of the most accomplished athletes in Detroit history.

I will not miss Joe Louis Arena. They can dump the bricks and mortar into the Detroit River for all I care. It was ill planned, did not provide fans comfort and was placed in a spot that did not benefit the city and was an inconvenience for fans.

How can you jam a building behind a freeway where you cannot promote commerce while stunting the growth of Cobo Center and risk losing a big event like the North American International Auto Show?

The Joe’s greatest accomplishment is that it prevented the Red Wings from escaping to the suburbs after the Lions and Pistons left town. Detroit was turning into a sports ghost town. Organizations found better deals in the burbs and took them. The fear was that the Red Wings were going west somewhere in Novi or Farmington Hills.

Former Mayor Coleman Young slapped something together to prevent this team from leaving. But there was little planning and little thought in this building. The corridors were too narrow, the seats were too small and I remember my knees hurting because the seats were too close together.

And how many times did patrons fall on that stairway to death that led to the main entrance?

Little Caesars Arena can’t open soon enough. Detroit sports fans deserve better.

I will miss Steve Yzerman, Scotty Bowman, Darren McCarty, Nick Lidstrom and Brendan Shanahan. They brought the arena to life with their play and decision making. But these guys could make any building rock.

This is one guy that won’t shed a tear. It is time to move some place nice with the Red Wings and Pistons under the same roof in downtown Detroit. That’s where they belong and hopefully these teams will team together to create more special memories.

Comments

One Comment

  1. Terry, what is it like to be literally the most disliked person in Michigan?

  2. He’s correct. That place is a dump. Who designs a stadium where you have to wait outside on a set of stairs to get in the door? Especially in Detroit, where you have to worry about snow and ice on those stairs. The seats are too narrow, you can’t walk through the concourse during intermissions or before or after the stairs and it’s a pain to get to. Good things happened here, but that doesn’t make it a good stadium

  3. I was only in the Joe a few times my entire life. I could not believe that a professional sports team of any kind would play in a glorified pole barn with terrible exposure, no reason to ever stay past game time, and no where to actually enjoy pre-game activities.
    No thank you. I will not miss that place one bit.
    Too many people are equating the great players and teams that skated and bled there,as well as the knee capping that Nancy Kerrigan got. Stop romanticizing that terrible excuse for a professional arena and bring on the Little Caesar’s Arena (another terribly named venue in my opinion)

  4. Anthony Alan says:

    And they can take that huge black power fist to the dump too..I have NEVER associated that with the GREAT Joe Louis..It is an INSULT to Mr. Louis and the city!

  5. Carey Conley says:

    If one were to read the article printed in the Freep about The Joe the day after it opened, (search Google – it’s there.) it did NOT get glowing reviews from the Wings fans of the day, who had the recently-departed Olympia to compare it to. The players reportedly HATED it.

    These fans who love The Joe now will not really understand just how bad they had it, until the first time they step into Little Caesars Arena and are blown away.

  6. I’m with Terry on this one. Terry actually had the balls to express his knowledge of how bad Joe Louis Arena was. May I add though that the inside of the arena smelled like urine at its entirety. It’s time for a new arena with fresher air and with arena employees that aren’t afraid to clean all restrooms to keep this place smelling like new. Also, Sergei Fedorov was a part of the Red Wings Championship teams in 1997. 1998, and 2002.

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