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Inside Joe Louis Arena.
The retired numbers hanging at Joe Louis Arena

Joe Louis Arena, nicknamed The Joe and JLA is a hockey arena located at 600 Civic Center Drive in Detroit, Michiganmarker. It is the home of the Detroit Red Wings of the National Hockey League. Completed in 1979 at a cost of $57 million, Joe Louis Arena is named after boxer and former heavyweight champion Joe Louis, who grew up in Detroit. This makes it one of three remaining NHL arenas without a corporate sponsorship name (the others being Madison Square Gardenmarker in New York and Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseummarker in Long Island). It is also one of the oldest venues in the NHL.

Joe Louis Arena is owned by the city of Detroit and operated by Olympia Entertainment, an Ilitch Holdings, Inc.-owned company. JLA replaced Olympia Stadiummarker. It sits adjacent to Cobo Hallmarker on the bank of the Detroit River and is accessible through its own station on the Detroit People Mover. Budd Lynch is the arena's public address announcer.

Several plans for a replacement arena have surfaced in recent years, including proposals for the expansion of Cobo Hall that require JLA to be demolished. Currently, no firm plan for replacement or remodeling is in place. In 2009, the Red Wings announced that they would not renew their 30-year Joe Louis Arena lease with the City of Detroit (which also included the rights to Cobo Arenamarker), instead opting to seek a short-term renewal for Joe Louis while seeking options for a new stadium within the city.

The arena was featured in the episode "Grosse Pointe, 48230" of the television show Northern Exposure.

Usage by the Red Wings

In the arena's first season it hosted the NHL All-Star Game, which was played before a then-NHL record crowd of 21,002 and 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. The 51-year-old Howe had played 25 years in Detroit, was the NHL's all-time leading scorer.

The Red Wings have been very successful since the move to Joe Louis Arena, winning four Stanley Cup championships (with two of them, 1997 and 2002, taking place with the Cup clinching victory at home), and playing in two additional Stanley Cup Finals, in 1995 against the New Jersey Devils and in 2009 against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

A new television screen on the scoreboard was installed and 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 legendary Red Wing player Gordie Howe, and a bronze statue of his likeness was placed inside the entrance.

Other tenants

Also 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. It also played host to the 1980 Republican National Convention. The arena has also hosted several events by World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). Most recently, the 2009 edition of the Royal Rumble took place at the Joe Louis Arena and an episode of Monday Night RAW, on August 31.

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 Silverdomemarker was unavailable due to a scheduling conflict. In the game, Piston 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 Hillsmarker (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.


Panorama of Joe Louis Arena in April 2008

Recent additions

Joe Louis Arena currently houses 86 premium suites. In 2008, the arena introduced the Comerica Bank Legend's Club, a 181-person private seating location in the southeast corner of the arena. 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.


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