Joe Louis Arena

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Joe Louis Arena
"The Joe"
Joe Louis Arena.svg
Joe Louis Arena.JPG
Location 19 Steve Yzerman Drive
Detroit, Michigan
Coordinates 42°19′31″N 83°3′5″W / 42.32528°N 83.05139°W / 42.32528; -83.05139Coordinates: 42°19′31″N 83°3′5″W / 42.32528°N 83.05139°W / 42.32528; -83.05139
Owner City of Detroit
Operator Olympia Entertainment
Capacity Ice hockey:
19,275 (1979–1989)
19,875 (1989–1996)
19,983 (1996–2000)
19,995 (2000–2001)
20,058 (2001–2003)
20,066 (2003–2014)
20,027 (2014–present)
Basketball: 20,153
Professional wrestling: 18,735
Concerts: 21,666[1]
Broke ground May 16, 1977[2]
Opened December 12, 1979
Construction cost $57 million
($185 million in 2015 dollars[3])
Architect SmithGroupJJR
Detroit Red Wings (NHL) (1979–present)
Detroit Pistons (NBA) (1984–1985)
Detroit Drive (AFL) (1988–1993)
Detroit Compuware Ambassadors (OHL) (1991–1992)
Detroit Junior Red Wings (OHL) (1992–1995)
Detroit Rockers (NPSL) (1996–2001)
Detroit Turbos (MILL) (1989–1994)
The electronic scoreboard at Joe Louis Arena, during a game between the Detroit Red Wings and the Los Angeles Kings on March 9, 2007
Inside Joe Louis Arena.
The retired numbers of former Detroit Red Wings players displayed at Joe Louis Arena.
Panorama of Joe Louis Arena in April 2008.
The Detroit Shock practice at Joe Louis Arena before Game 5 of the 2006 WNBA Finals.

Joe Louis Arena, nicknamed The Joe, is a hockey arena located in downtown Detroit, Michigan. It is the home of the Detroit Red Wings of the National Hockey League. Completed in 1979 at a cost of $57 million, the venue is named after boxer and former heavyweight champion Joe Louis, who grew up in Detroit.[4] Only two other NHL arenas—Madison Square Garden in New York City and Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on Long Island—are without corporate sponsorship names. The fourth oldest NHL venue after the two named above and Rexall Place in Edmonton, Joe Louis Arena is owned by the city of Detroit, and operated by Olympia Entertainment, a subsidiary of Ilitch Holdings.[5] Joe Louis Arena replaced Olympia Stadium. It sits adjacent to Cobo Hall on the bank of the Detroit River and is accessible through its own station on the Detroit People Mover.

On July 20, 2014, following the July 2013 approval of a $650 million project to build a new sports and entertainment district in Downtown Detroit,[6][7] Christopher Ilitch unveiled designs for a new downtown arena near Comerica Park and Ford Field to be completed by 2017, which will succeed Joe Louis Arena as the future home of the Red Wings. Joe Louis Arena will be demolished following the completion of the new arena, and its site will be redeveloped.[8] On October 16, 2014, lawyers involved in the ongoing Detroit bankruptcy case disclosed in court that after demolition (which would be paid for by the city and state), the land on which the arena currently stands, along with an adjacent parking lot, would be transferred to the Financial Guaranty Insurance Company (FGIC), a bond insurer with a $1 billion claim against the city.[9]

Detroit Red Wings[edit]

Joe Louis Arena replaced Olympia Arena, where the Red Wings had played since 1927. The neighborhood around the Olympia gradually deteriorated, especially after the 1967 riots. After two murders took place near the Olympia, Red Wings owner Bruce Norris seriously considered moving to a proposed arena in suburban Pontiac. However, the city of Detroit countered with a proposal for a new riverfront arena at one-third of the rent Pontiac was offering. The package also gave the Red Wings operational control of both the arena, nearby Cobo Arena and nearby lots.

The Red Wings played their first game at Joe Louis Arena on December 27, 1979, hosting the St. Louis Blues.[10] Later that first season it hosted the 32nd NHL All-Star Game on February 5, 1980,[11] which was played before a then-NHL record crowd of 21,002. The event was made memorable when Gordie Howe of the Hartford Whalers was introduced on the Wales Conference line-up and received a ten-minute standing ovation.[12] The 51-year-old Howe had played 25 years in Detroit and at the time was the NHL's all-time leading scorer. Joe Louis Arena was the site of the 1987 NHL Entry Draft, which marked the first NHL Entry Draft to be held in the United States.

The Red Wings have been very successful since the move to Joe Louis Arena, winning four Stanley Cup championships (1997, 1998, 2002 and 2008), and playing in two additional Stanley Cup Finals (1995 and 2009). The 1997 and 2002 Cups were clinched at Joe Louis.

In 1990, color matrix boards were installed on the scoreboard; these were replaced by four Sony JumboTron video walls three years later, when the matrix boards were placed in the corners of the fascia. In 2006, LED video screens replaced the JumboTrons. The screens debuted November 22, 2006, when the Red Wings played the Vancouver Canucks. That same day, the arena's West Entrance was named the "Gordie Howe Entrance" in honor of the legendary Red Wing player, and a bronze statue of Howe was placed inside the entrance.

Other uses[edit]

Joe Louis Arena was the site of the 1980 Republican National Convention where Ronald Reagan was nominated as the Republican candidate for President of the United States.

In 1995, the Detroit Junior Red Wings won the Ontario Hockey League's J. Ross Robertson Cup, defeating the Guelph Storm.

Joe Louis Arena hosts college hockey events as part of College Hockey at The Joe and Great Lakes Invitational.

The Detroit Pistons of the NBA used the arena for Game 5 of their 1984 playoff series against the New York Knicks when the Pontiac Silverdome was unavailable due to a scheduling conflict. In the game, Pistons star Isiah Thomas scored 16 points in the final 1:34 of regulation to send the game into overtime before the Pistons lost. The Pistons were forced to return to Joe Louis Arena for 15 games during the 1984–85 season, after the roof of the Silverdome collapsed during a snowstorm.

Joe Louis Arena was the site of the decisive Game 5 of the 2006 WNBA Finals between the Sacramento Monarchs and Detroit Shock on September 9, due to The Palace of Auburn Hills (the Shock's usual home arena) already being used for a Mariah Carey concert on the same day. The Shock won the game 80–75 to clinch the championship.

Former Arena Football League team the Detroit Drive also had success during their time at the arena, playing in six consecutive ArenaBowls from 1988 to 1993 and winning four of them. Four of the games (ArenaBowl III, ArenaBowl IV, ArenaBowl V and ArenaBowl VII) were played in Joe Louis Arena.

In addition, Joe Louis Arena is also a concert venue. Until the Palace of Auburn Hills was built in 1988, Joe Louis Arena was Michigan's largest indoor arena for concerts. The first concert to take place there occurred on February 19, 1980, in which Max Webster opened for the Canadian rock group Rush. To compensate for most of Joe Lewis Arena's concert business being moved north following the opening of the Palace, the Red Wings began a tradition of playing a home game on New Year's Eve. Aside from lockouts cancelling part or all of the 1994-95, 2004-05, and 2012-13 seasons, the Red Wings have left the New Year's Eve date open in years they've been scheduled to participate in the NHL Winter Classic. For New Year's Eve 2012 and 2013, Zac Brown Band held concerts at the Joe. The 2012 date was already open due to the planned 2013 Winter Classic that was postponed by lockout until 2014.

Recent additions[edit]

Joe Louis Arena currently houses 86 premium suites.[13] In 2008, the arena introduced the Comerica Bank Legend's Club, a 181-person private seating location in the southeast corner of the arena.[4] The Legend's Club is also the site of a pilot program called the SkyBOX. St. Louis-based Vivid Sky introduced the SkyBOX into the Legend's Club in January 2008. The SkyBOX gives Champion's Club patrons the ability to view instant replays and statistical information via a wireless device in the Skybox.

Miscellaneous information[edit]


  1. ^ "Arena Info: General Information". The Detroit Red Wings. Retrieved December 8, 2012. 
  2. ^ "Begin Work on Stadium". The Ludington Daily News. May 17, 1977. Retrieved December 8, 2012. 
  3. ^ Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–2014. Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved February 27, 2014.
  4. ^ a b Wojnowski, Bob (August 10, 2010). "Competitive Spirit Makes Mike Ilitch Perfect Fit for Pistons". The Detroit News. Retrieved March 2, 2011. 
  5. ^ "About Olympia Entertainment". Retrieved March 2, 2011. 
  6. ^ Muller, David (July 24, 2013). "$650 Million Detroit Red Wings Arena Project Clears Another Public Financing Hurdle". MLive. Retrieved July 24, 2013. 
  7. ^ Shea, Bill (June 19, 2013). "DDA, Red Wings Unveil $650 Million Arena and Entertainment Complex". Crain's Detroit Business. Retrieved June 19, 2013. 
  8. ^ "Detroit Rink City: Ilitches' grand plan to supersize the entertainment district". Crain's Detroit Business. Retrieved September 21, 2014. 
  9. ^ "Detroit bankruptcy deal: Joe Louis Arena site to go to creditor for hotel development". 16 October 2014. Retrieved 17 October 2014. 
  10. ^ Khan, Ansar (December 26, 2009). "Red Wings Celebrate 30th Anniversary of Joe Louis Arena". Michigan Live. Retrieved March 2, 2011. 
  11. ^ "NHL All-Star Game Summaries/Results by Year". National Hockey League. Retrieved March 2, 2011. 
  12. ^ 1980 NHL All Star Game Intro. YouTube. Event occurs at 00:01:28. Retrieved March 2, 2011. 
  13. ^ "Joe Louis Arena". Retrieved March 2, 2011. 

External links[edit]

Events and tenants
Preceded by
Olympia Stadium
Home of the
Detroit Red Wings

1979 – present
Succeeded by
New Detroit Arena
Preceded by
Buffalo Memorial Auditorium
Host of the
NHL All-Star Game

Succeeded by
The Forum
Preceded by
Olympic Center
Lake Placid, New York
Host of the
Frozen Four

Succeeded by
Providence Civic Center
Providence, Rhode Island
Preceded by
Providence Civic Center
Providence, Rhode Island
Host of the
Frozen Four

Succeeded by
Olympic Center
Lake Placid, New York
Preceded by
Saint Paul Civic Center
St. Paul, Minnesota
Host of the
Frozen Four

Succeeded by
Saint Paul Civic Center
St. Paul, Minnesota
Preceded by
Madison Square Garden
Home of the
Royal Rumble

Succeeded by
Philips Arena