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The Oldest NHL Arenas

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 0 0

Many hockey fans will agree, some of the oldest arenas in the NHL are the best. Sports fans normally find it tough to see an old arena be demolished in favor of a newer one. In the NHL, there are still some older stadiums that host hockey games and other sporting events.

5. Scotiabank Saddledome, Calgary Flames, 1983

Scotiabank Saddledome

The Saddledome has changed sponsers and names throughout the years: Olympic Saddledome, Canadian Airlines Saddledown, Pengrowth Saddledome and now Scotiabank. Through its years, the Saddledome has seen a lot of action. The arena has hosted the Stanley Cup Finals series three times. The NHL All-Star Game and the NHL Entry Draft were also held there once. Like most arenas, the Saddledome isn't just for one team. The Roughnecks of the National Lacrosse League and the Hitmen of the Western Hockey League play their home games here. At the time of construction in the early eighties, the dome cost just under $100 million to build. The dome can hold just over 19,000 fans for hockey games.

4. Joe Lewis Arena, Detroit Red Wings, 1979

Joe Lewis Arena

The Joe Lewis Arena is located in Detroit and is named after famous boxing legend Joe Lewis. Having been completed in 1979, it is the fourth oldest arena in the NHL. Since its opening, The Joe has been the home arena for seven different sports teams including the Red Wings and Pistons. The arena can currently hold over 20,000 fans for hockey games. Like most older NHL arenas, The Joe has been a part of many different major events. The 1980 Republican National Convention was held there, professional wrestling events, and major concerts were held there as well. It is widely known that the 2011-2012 season could be the last the Red Wings play at Joe Lewis Arena. Various plans have been proposed but there is still no long-term venue for the Wings.

3. Rexall Place, Edmonton Oilers, 1974

Rexall Place

Rexall Place opened in November of '74, in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Though the arena is used for concerts, it was built to be a home for hockey. Like the Saddledome, Rexall Place is also home to a National Lacrosse League team, the Rush. The Oilers arena is one of the cheapest in the NHL, even in terms of today's dollars. The Coliseum was built between 1972 and 1974 and at the time cost only $17.3 million dollars to build (Canadian). Throughout the years, Rexall has been known by other names: Northlands Coliseum, Edmonton Coliseum and Skyreach Centre. The arena can hold 16,839 fans for hockey games. 

2. Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, New York Islanders, 1972

Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum

The Coliseum is an arena in Uniondale New York. Opened in 1972 at a cost of $31 million, the multi-purpose arena can hold 16,250 hockey fans, which is the second lowest capacity in the NHL. Like the Red Wings, the Islanders do not currently have a long-term solution for home ice. For years, alternatives have been proposed including upgrades to the Coliseum and building an entirely new arena. The Coliseum has previously been home (some temporarily) to many different sports teams but currently the Islanders are the pro sports team to call it home. In the late seventies and early eighties, the Islanders won four consecutive Stanley Cups.

1. Madison Square Gardens, New York Rangers, 1968

Madison Square Gardens

The oldest NHL arena is Madison Square Gardens. The Garden is located in Manhattan and is home ice (or court) for the New York Rangers and the New York Knicks. At the time of construction and over time, the Garden has proved to be one of the most expensive venues in the NHL. Its initial cost in 1968 of $123 million equates to $776 million in today's dollars. Previous and future renovations combine to a total cost of almost a billion dollars. The Gardens has been (and continues to be) home to an endless list of other acts including concerts, the NCAA Big East Tournament, historic boxing matches, awards ceremonies, and circus'. As with most arenas, there have been rumors of more renovations, moving, demolishing, etc. However, the Gardens is one of the most historic venues in the United States and I couldn't imagine it being removed any time soon.

There is a lot of history in the NHL, much of it in the arenas where the games are played. I hope that you (and myself) will be able to one day see a hockey game in one of the oldest NHL arenas.


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