It’s been a dream of mine to get to all hockey arenas in the NHL (all 30+ of them, since I’ve been to both arenas in Phoenix, Pittsburgh is getting a new arena, etc.) someday. Last season, I wasn’t able to cross any off my list, but this season my cousin’s wedding (this Saturday in Lansing, MI) was perfectly planned, since the Red Wings are in town. Naturally, I flew in a day earlier than most so I could attend a Red Wings game.
The Joe Louis Arena is clearly an iconic hockey building and I’m glad I’ve finally got to cross it off my list of arenas to visit. I haven’t been to that many arenas, but somehow I’ve managed to get to most of the oldest arenas. The fact that the three oldest are all in the Atlantic division and I’m from the northeast and have friends and family in NYC, Pittsburgh, and Philadelphia definitely helps. The only arena I haven’t visited in the Atlantic division is the new Devils arena (Prudential Center). I thought I might be able to get there this season, but the arena isn’t going anywhere, so I’m not too upset that it didn’t work out this year. There will be plenty of time to visit it. Getting back to the Igloo again is much more important.
Fortunately, the game tonight was very exciting. The Canucks ended it 27 seconds into overtime after the score went back and forth in regulation. I sat with some great fans and had a lot of fun discussing hockey with them. It was just the kind of game one would want to experience at any arena they were visiting. I wish I could see a game this interesting at all arenas I visit. It’d be a lot easier to compare the atmospheres then.
The prices at the Joe Louis Arena are a mystery to me. The tickets are incredibly expensive (I paid $25 for a seat near the top (very near) of the arena in the corner. The only higher seats were the press box & the luxury boxes (which tend to be up high in older arenas). However, once inside, the prices for food and merchandise were less expensive than most arenas I’ve visited. Of course, I realize that everything is relative. Just as I was text messaging a friend about the low costs of food there, the guy behind me said something to his girlfriend about how they knew the prices would be insanely expensive there. If you’re from a place like LA or New York, where food tends to be expensive (especially at arenas and amusement parks), the food prices at the Joe Louis Arena seem low. Compared to other prices around here, they’re clearly high. When I was in the elevator on my way back to my room, the guy in the elevator commented on the inexpensive merchandise at the arena, but clearly he’s from out of town, like me.
I’m still not sure how I feel about them calling Detroit Hockey Town when they can’t fill an arena during the playoffs or the first couple games the season after they won the Stanley Cup (tonight’s game was only the second home game of the season), but the atmosphere at the Joe Louis Arena was great for hockey and I would definitely come back for a game if it worked out with my schedule again.