As a long time Red Wing fan I’ve been to the Joe Louis Arena many times. It was an old building that was falling apart and didn’t meet the needs of the modern day hockey fan. I’ll always remember walking through the gerbil tunnels from the parking structure and stepping over the pot holes in the concrete floors, the heavy vinyl tarps separating the rink from the concourse, and the tiny seats, the clogged concourse after the game. It was home for a long time but the team ownership had a vision to upgrade and used the opportunity to revitalize an area of the city of Detroit along the way.
Little Cesar’s Arena is part of a larger development called District Detroit. I don’t profess to know all the details, but I do know it’s much bigger than just the arena, which is now home to not only the Detroit Red Wings hockey team but also the Detroit Pistons basketball team. They left their former home in Auburn Hills to be part of the action and add to the attraction to bring people to the city and spend money.
We attended a Sunday night game as our first visit.
We could have arrived much earlier and sampled some of the new restaurants that are part of the District Detroit like Kid Rock’s Made In Detroit.
Our favorite domestic beer is a proud sponsor and is featured prominently. Too bad they’re so expensive. It really cuts down on the consumption.
The manhole covers are awesome. This one is from The Captain Steve Yzerman, former Wing, member of the Hall of Fame, and now General Manager for tonight’s opponent, the Tampa Bay Lightning.
I wonder if his mom ever imagined her son would be immortalized on a manhole cover.
The scoreboard is awesome. Massive. The panels on the inside are great when your seat is too close to the ice to see the giant sides. The ceiling lights in red, white, and blue during the National Anthem.
One of the complaints about the Joe was the lack of cup holders. It really was a pain and neophytes sitting in the front row would often mistake the ledge on the dasher board as a safe place to set their beer. One check into the boards in the right spot and they learn a very wet lesson. LCA has cup holders, but they are frankly a poor design. The cup part is too shallow, leaving too much of the beverage vessel above the edge of the holder, and the position of them is too close to where my elbow goes. My coat covered it every time I sat down, and we spilled a beer in our small row of four seats and the row in front of us spilled theirs as well.
The lines to the bathrooms at the Joe were dreadful. Everybody joked about the troughs in the men’s room, but they were effective. LCA didn’t really fix the lines. This was during the first intermission. Since it was my first visit, I didn’t know where it was and the signage isn’t very obvious. That sign is in line with the exit from the arena area into the concourse so I couldn’t locate it until I walked quite a bit farther than necessary. Chalk that up to my ignorance.
There are a lot of nods to the past and the coolest is the sign that used to be on the old Olympia Stadium, the home of the Red Wings before they moved into the Joe Louis Arena.
All in all, this was quite an upgrade. It even has WiFi! I can’t wait to go back and hopefully see the return to former glory.