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File:Hoops in Hockeytown.jpg

The Detroit Shock practice at Joe Louis Arena before Game 5 of the 2006 WNBA Finals.

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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.

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The retired numbers hanging at Joe Louis Arena.


Panorama of Joe Louis Arena in April 2008.

Joe Louis Arena, nicknamed The Joe and JLA is a hockey arena located at 600 Civic Center Drive in 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,[1] 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 Garden in New York City and Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on Long Island). It is also the fourth oldest venue in the NHL (The aforementioned venues plus Rexall Place in Edmonton are NHL's oldest venues).

Joe Louis Arena is owned by the city of Detroit, and operated by Olympia Entertainment, an Ilitch Holdings, Inc.-owned company.[2] JLA 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. Budd Lynch is the arena's public address announcer.

Usage by the Red Wings[]

The Detroit Red Wings played their first game at Joe Louis Arena on December 27, 1979.[3] Later that first season it hosted the 32nd NHL All-Star Game on February 5, 1980,[4] 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.[5] The 51-year-old Howe had played 25 years in Detroit and at the time 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 the legendary Red Wing player, and a bronze statue of Howe was placed inside the entrance.

Other tenants[]

Joe Louis Arena was the site of the 1980 Republican National Convention.

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 arena has also hosted several events by WWE, recently hosting the first ever Over the Limit pay-per-view in May 2010, and the Royal Rumble in January 2009. The venue has also played host to three editions of the annual Survivor Series event (in 1991, 1999, and 2005).

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, 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 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. I also ate a dudes ass.

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 during the 1980s. The first concert to take place there was on February 19, 1980. The Max Webster Band was the first musical act to play there when they opened for Canadian rock group, Rush. To compensate for most of JLA's concert business being moved north, the Red Wings began a tradition of playing a home game on New Year's Eve which continues today (Exceptions were in 1994, 2004 and 2007.)

Recent additions[]

Joe Louis Arena currently houses 86 premium suites.[6] In 2008, the arena introduced the Comerica Bank Legend's Club, a 181-person private seating location in the southeast corner of the arena.[1] 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.

New arena for the Red Wings[]

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 Arena).[7] Olympia Entertainment say they now plan to negotiate a new lease for Joe Louis, which could either be a long-term commitment that would lead to renovating the existing stadium, or a short term deal that would buy them time to arrange financing for a new venue.[8]

On February 23, 2010, Ilitch Holdings announced the hiring of Tom Wilson. Wilson will be president and CEO of a soon-to-be-named new enterprise within Ilitch Holdings. One of Wilson’s first duties will be to help figure out where the Red Wings will play the 2011–12 NHL Season.[9] At the press conference announcing Wilson's hiring, Christopher Ilitch did not rule out the construction of an arena that would house both the Detroit Pistons and the Red Wings. He also did not rule out the Red Wings playing temporarily at The Palace of Auburn Hills until a new building was ready downtown.[10] As of June 2011, the Red Wings have continued to play at Joe Louis Arena. According to Christopher Ilitch, the team will stay there at least through the 2011-12 season.[11]


  • Built: 1977–1979
  • Construction Cost: $57 million
  • Seating Capacity: 20,058 (including suites); 20,338 for end-stage concerts and 21,152 for center-stage concerts.
  • Dimensions: 328 x 550 x 85 (ft), approximately 12 million ft³ (340,000 m³).
  • Home Team: Detroit Red Wings (NHL).
  • Former Teams: Detroit Rockers (NPSL) 1996–01, Detroit Pistons (NBA) for one playoff game in 1984 because of venue unavailability, and 15 games in 1985 after the roof collapsed at the Pontiac Silverdome, Detroit Compuware Ambassadors (OHL) 1991–92, Detroit Junior Red Wings (OHL) 1992–95, Detroit Drive (AFL) 1988–93, Detroit Turbos (MILL) 1989–94, Detroit Shock, (WNBA) for playoff games in 2004 and the 2006 WNBA Finals Game 5 when The Palace of Auburn Hills was unavailable because of a concert.
  • Opening event: December 12, 1979, basketball game between the University of Michigan and the University of Detroit.
  • Opening hockey event: December 27, 1979, the Detroit Red Wings versus the St. Louis Blues. St. Louis won that particular night 3–2.
  • 1980 Republican National Convention, John Hancock (Insurance) Champions On Ice, three NCAA Frozen Four college hockey finals, college basketball & others.
  • Championships: Detroit Red Wings (1996–97, 1997–98, 2001–02 & 2007–08), Detroit Rockers (1991), Detroit Drive (1988, 1989 & 1990), Detroit Turbos (1991).
  • Site of WWF The Main Event 1990, Survivor Series 1991, Survivor Series 1999, and Survivor Series 2005, as well as Vengeance 2002 and the 2009 Royal Rumble and Over the Limit 2010.
  • Has hosted 2004 WWE Draft and numerous tapings of Monday Night Raw, Friday Night SmackDown! and ECW. Most recently, a WWE Raw taping on January 24, 2010
  • Site of WCW Halloween Havoc in 1994 and 1995.
  • Site of the annual Great Lakes Invitational, in college hockey, as well as the annual CCHA tournament.
  • Site of the 2010 Assemblies of God National Youth Convention.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Wojnowski, Bob (August 10, 2010). "Competitive spirit makes Mike Ilitch perfect fit for Pistons". Detroit News. Retrieved March 2, 2011. 
  2. "About Olympia Entertainment". Retrieved March 2, 2011. 
  3. Khan, Ansar (December 26, 2009). "Red Wings celebrate 30th anniversary of Joe Louis Arena; building has hosted many memorable games". Retrieved March 2, 2011. 
  4. "NHL All-Star Game Summaries/Results by Year". Retrieved March 2, 2011. 
  5. Template:Cite video
  6. "Joe Louis Arena". Retrieved March 2, 2011. 
  7. Khan, Ansar (June 26, 2009). "Red Wings won't extend current lease on Joe Louis Arena, hopeful of negotiating a new lease with city". Retrieved March 2, 2011. 
  8. Shea, Bill (June 26, 2009). "Ilitches not renewing old Joe Louis lease, negotiating for new deal". Crain's Detroit Business. Retrieved March 2, 2011. 
  11. Lage, Larry. "Red Wings still holding out hope for new arena". Fox Sports Detroit Website. Retrieved 3 June 2011. 

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