By Ellen Chlumecky
This Thursday, the city of Detroit made the final decision to demolish their beloved hockey arena: Joe Louis Arena. The plan is to demolish the home of the Detroit Red Wings and sell the land to a creditor for development as part of the agreement to settle the city’s bankruptcy case. The creditor is bond insurer Financial Guaranty Insurance Co. The arena will be knocked down and will be replaced with almost nine acres of either a hotel, apartment condominiums, office spaces, or retail development.
Joe Louis Arena was opened in 1979 and has been a staple in hockey history since the doors opened. The arena is the fourth oldest NHL venue. Joe Louis Arena was one of the few arenas that was without a corporate sponsorship name. Joe Louis Arena is not only home to hockey but to basketball, professional wrestling and a myriad of concerts. Until the deal, the arena was owned by the city of Detroit. The plan as of now will be to move the arena just a couple of miles away.
The deal with Detroit will remove $7 billion of debt from Detroit’s bankruptcy problem. The lawyers, attorneys and creditor are very excited about the deal. Lawyers for the city believe that it will be one of the greatest steps in the right direction to solving the problem the city of Detroit is currently facing.
With the financial situation that Detroit is currently in, most would see the deal as a positive. However, Detroit Red Wings and fans of the arena are not too happy, especially long time fans of the Red Wings. While the update was needed, it will not take the sentimentality out of the decision. Detroit Red Wings fans are very upset about the demolition of their beloved stadium.
While removing the debt of Detroit is the top priority for the city, Red Wings fans hold heavy hearts for the demolition of their historic arena. Some fans are scared that the new arena will lose the old world feel of Joe Louis because it lacks the memories and traditions that Joe Louis held. Other fans are nervous that the new arena will follow the corporate trail and become a flashy, new arena that resembles a shopping mall rather than a hockey arena. Red Wings’ fans have many memorable, wonderful memories of great moments in Wings history with 11 cups, countless playoff seasons, several Hall of Famers, and the Original 6 tradition associated with the arena. At this point, there is really nothing anyone can do. It is now up to the Red Wings’ franchise to preserve the rich tradition.