Monday, May 21, 2012

New Arena Now Inevitable for Wings. Happy? Sad?

Reports have surfaced today that the Illitches have hired a team of architects to design the new home for one of the greatest franchises in all of sports, the Detroit Red Wings.  It is the same team of architects that designed the impressive American Airlines Arena which is the home of the Dallas Stars.  For years there have been countless rumors and innuendos as to if/when Mike Illitch will build a more modern and aesthetically pleasing arena for a team that more than deserves the best one money can buy.  Well it seems now that the plan is officially in motion.  It also appears that those who were afraid the new arena would move to the suburbs of Oakland County (i.e. The Palace of Auburn Hills) need not to fret as the reports also state the new barn will be in downtown Detroit. 

So are you happy? Sad to see the Joe go.  Excited?  All of the above?

Let's face it, the Joe has been outdated since it opened its doors on December 12, 1979.  It looks like a warehouse, it smells, it is extremely tight to maneuver though the concourse, the bathrooms are, um, disgusting (I mean that in a loving way), and if you attempt to use one of those "washrooms" you are sure to miss a goal, fight, or both since you will be waiting for what seems to be an hour.  With all the love in the world I admit it is a dump.  But myself, and many, many, if not all, Wings fans will miss it.

The JLA has history.  The Winged Wheelers have piled up wins, division crowns, conference titles, 4 Stanley Cups, set and broke records, won historic brawls by the likes of Probert, Kocur, and McCarty who has the most memorable brawl of all versus the hated Claude Lemuiex.  The JLA has been the home of players named Yzerman, Shanahan, Fedorov, Lidstrom, Hull, Robitaille, Hasek, Chelios, Konstantinov, Joseph, Osgood, Vernon, Larionov, Datsyuk, and Zetterberg who were coached by the best in business, Scotty Bowman.  The Joe has been a house of champions.  It has been the house of the best brand of hockey on the planet.  I for one will be sad not only because of all the success, but because it has been the only arena I have ever known.  My father took me here for my first ever hockey game. It is something I will never forget.

On the flip side, the model franchise in the NHL deserves a model arena.  The Wings are big time.  It's time for them to play in a place that draws envy around the league not only with the hockey played in it, but by its appearance as well.  Rest assured Mr. Illitch will have us all in awe.  He never does anything half-assed.  He always goes big.  This will be no exception.  And therefore, I am also very excited.

The boys in red and white will be in a brand new, glitzy, glamoury, big, flashy, and shiny home in a matter of a few years.  I am not being cowardly nor playing both sides of the fence when I say I will both be very sad and very excited.  Let's all just sit back and wait to see what Mr. Illitch will do.

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