It's now been a few months since there was talk of the future of Joe Louis Arena -- home of the Detroit Red Wings. The Illitch family had been leasing the arena from the city of Detroit for many years and elected not to renew that lease earlier this year. This has caused some to speculate that they plan to build a new arena or even move north to share the Palace with the Pistons. Even Scotty Bowman recently got in on the speculation while speaking on local radio musing out loud about a potential Red Wings move to the Palace in Auburn Hills.
As much as I like the Joe, and the memories Wings fans have there of four Stanley Cups since 1997, the place has a few problems, the biggest of which (in my opinion) is its impractical location on the river front. It makes a lot more sense to use the space where the Joe sits to expand Cobo Hall and move an arena closer to where the people and action is in Detroit. A recent article in the Free Press asked architects to propose designs for an expanded Cobo Hall and Center and what they came up with appears to infringe on the current footprint of Joe Louis. That has fueled other speculation that the Illitch's gave up their lease to give the city more options in the Cobo renovations.
And, believe it or not, 30 years is an old man for an NHL arena. Apparently when the new arena opens up in Pittsburgh, the Red Wings will have the oldest arena in the NHL. So they may be due for a new one. And a lot of cities are going multi-purpose with NHL and NBA teams sharing an arena (New York, Boston, Chicago). Basically bigger cities than Detroit.
So it would kind of suck for the Red Wings to move up to the Palace but if the end result was a new arena in downtown Detroit where both the Pistons and the Wings could play I'd be all for that. And when we build a new one let's build this sucker for the next 100 years. (Kind of like Olympia. The one where the Wings made their original Stanly Cup history before being torn down to make way for Joe Louis.)