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The Olympia in Detroit

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Old
12-07-2012, 09:40 PM
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darkhorse686
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The Olympia in Detroit

Does anyone know the story of why the Red Wings left their old arena? I ask because at the time rinks like the Forum, Maple Leaf Gardens, and the Chicago Stadium, old as they were, were still considered suitable arenas to host their clubs (or were they?). It seems strange the Wings would want to leave the Olympia which was about the same age as the venues mentioned above.

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12-08-2012, 12:03 AM
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Killion
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I guess it was just a matter of it being far too expensive to retro-fit & re-configure, actually house the requirements of modern day amenities like luxury suites, media facilities, extensive concessions & so on & so forth. "The Old Red Barn" as it was affectionately known open in 1927, and ya, probably couldve been brought into the 21st Century. I certainly advocated (strongly) that MLSE do just that with the Gardens in Toronto however, the realities were such (NBA team etc) that it simply wasnt tenable, though even still, where theres a will theres always a way. I much preferred the eccentricities of the older buildings; Boston Garden, Chicago Stadium, The Olympia, Montreals Forum and so on. Sad passings all. Here are some pictures from the old Hamilton Ontario Forum on Barton Street. Built in 1913, taken down in the 70's. Once home to the NHL Tigers, various Junior & Senior clubs over the years. Gives you an idea as to why there gone really. Check out the proximity of the support beams to the boards, then think Chara's hit on Pacioretty. Not pretty.

Old Hamilton Ontario Forum;


Red Wings' Gordie Howe and Hamiltonian Murray Oliver visit the Forum.

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12-08-2012, 06:54 AM
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Canadiens1958
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Olympia

Neighbourhood and accessibility issues were factors.

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12-08-2012, 08:32 AM
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darkhorse686
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Originally Posted by Killion View Post
I guess it was just a matter of it being far too expensive to retro-fit & re-configure, actually house the requirements of modern day amenities like luxury suites, media facilities, extensive concessions & so on & so forth. "The Old Red Barn" as it was affectionately known open in 1927, and ya, probably couldve been brought into the 21st Century. I certainly advocated (strongly) that MLSE do just that with the Gardens in Toronto however, the realities were such (NBA team etc) that it simply wasnt tenable, though even still, where theres a will theres always a way. I much preferred the eccentricities of the older buildings; Boston Garden, Chicago Stadium, The Olympia, Montreals Forum and so on. Sad passings all. Here are some pictures from the old Hamilton Ontario Forum on Barton Street. Built in 1913, taken down in the 70's. Once home to the NHL Tigers, various Junior & Senior clubs over the years. Gives you an idea as to why there gone really. Check out the proximity of the support beams to the boards, then think Chara's hit on Pacioretty. Not pretty.

Old Hamilton Ontario Forum;


Red Wings' Gordie Howe and Hamiltonian Murray Oliver visit the Forum.
I can see an arena like this being retired when it was. I think an arena like the Olympia may have been able to last into the early 90's; the other old barns did.

What entity built the Joe? If it was the Red Wings, it sounds like it was huge gamble given how bad the team was at the time.

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12-08-2012, 08:41 AM
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Big Phil
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I miss the old buildings a lot. Everything had a feel to it. In a way it made sense to move to a bigger building. For example Maple Leaf Gardens was built in 1931. It was a classic. But it was small. It had smaller seats and once people got bigger you were almost in there like sardines. They had to modernize it. But those old rinks had character which is something the new ones lack. Even watching the game at home you knew you were watching the Forum on TV, or Maple Leaf Gardens or Boston Garden. Or the Spectrum for that matter. You could tell from the noticeable monuments and architecture which building it was. When a player had a breakaway you would see the top of the fans' heads when they stood up and it almost gave you the feeling of being right there.

Now, everything is so wooden and cookie cutter. The names change on the buildings more times than you can shake a stick at and almost every building looks the same. There aren't any buildings in the NHL today where you can say "Now THAT is a nice barn." They all look like that and in a way it has hurt the home ice advantage, I think.

Ironically, maybe Joe Louis Arena is the only building that still has some nostalgia attached to it and has a noticeable look to it if you are watching on TV. Honestly, that might be the only building left with that type of history since the Igloo is gone in Pittsburgh. I understand why the Igloo left, I was there, there was long lines for the bathrooms, limited bathrooms, not enough concession stands and so on and so forth. But you at least had the feeling that Mario Lemieux had played here, and that was special.

So it is at best a mixed blessing for these new buildings. I can understand to a certain point but they don't build anything unique anymore. Now, Yankee Stadium (the old one) that I had the privilege of going to did it totally wrong. They still had a great facility and yet they build one across the street that looks exactly the same? It didn't make sense. I was at the old one and you could feel Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle there. I don't know how to explain it but you could. Same with the old hockey arenas. But you can't with the new ones and we've lost something that way.

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12-08-2012, 09:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Phil View Post
I miss the old buildings a lot. Everything had a feel to it. In a way it made sense to move to a bigger building. For example Maple Leaf Gardens was built in 1931. It was a classic. But it was small. It had smaller seats and once people got bigger you were almost in there like sardines. They had to modernize it. But those old rinks had character which is something the new ones lack. Even watching the game at home you knew you were watching the Forum on TV, or Maple Leaf Gardens or Boston Garden. Or the Spectrum for that matter. You could tell from the noticeable monuments and architecture which building it was. When a player had a breakaway you would see the top of the fans' heads when they stood up and it almost gave you the feeling of being right there.

Now, everything is so wooden and cookie cutter. The names change on the buildings more times than you can shake a stick at and almost every building looks the same. There aren't any buildings in the NHL today where you can say "Now THAT is a nice barn." They all look like that and in a way it has hurt the home ice advantage, I think.

Ironically, maybe Joe Louis Arena is the only building that still has some nostalgia attached to it and has a noticeable look to it if you are watching on TV. Honestly, that might be the only building left with that type of history since the Igloo is gone in Pittsburgh. I understand why the Igloo left, I was there, there was long lines for the bathrooms, limited bathrooms, not enough concession stands and so on and so forth. But you at least had the feeling that Mario Lemieux had played here, and that was special.

So it is at best a mixed blessing for these new buildings. I can understand to a certain point but they don't build anything unique anymore. Now, Yankee Stadium (the old one) that I had the privilege of going to did it totally wrong. They still had a great facility and yet they build one across the street that looks exactly the same? It didn't make sense. I was at the old one and you could feel Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle there. I don't know how to explain it but you could. Same with the old hockey arenas. But you can't with the new ones and we've lost something that way.
The Nassau Coliseum was not mentioned. That has a good history. I think the Islanders are planning to move though

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12-08-2012, 09:44 AM
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Originally Posted by darkhorse686 View Post
The Nassau Coliseum was not mentioned. That has a good history. I think the Islanders are planning to move though
That's true, they are moving in 2015 if we ever have NHL hockey again that is. Lots of history there.

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12-08-2012, 10:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Phil View Post
I miss the old buildings a lot. Everything had a feel to it....
Of course I don't disagree with a letter of that post, but I think things have become slightly less bleak than they were a decade ago. Current buildings are being designed with an eye toward unique features and identity, architects having learned from the cold reception that the cookie-cutter buildings received. Give 'em 40 years (if they last that long) and they should end up having a passable sense of identity.

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12-08-2012, 01:25 PM
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Although the Olympia closed in 1979, it wasn't demolished until 1987. Apparently stuff was ripe for the taking during that time.

When I was living in the Toronto area back in the 80's, I knew a guy whose basement rec room was a shrine to hockey. In it he had several items from the Olympia including seats, and a phone booth.

He and a friend drove down to Detroit, went into the Olympia, and took some seats, phone booth and several other items. They packed them into his station wagon and drove across the border to Canada with no problems.

Apparently, it was quite easy to get into the closed Olympia and there were already derelicts living there.

True story.

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12-08-2012, 03:47 PM
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Although the Olympia closed in 1979, it wasn't demolished until 1987. Apparently stuff was ripe for the taking during that time...True story.
Interesting, Id not heard that before. Maple Leaf Gardens as well was left in a terrible state for almost a decade while MLSE, Loblaws & Ryerson fought one another over all kinds of nonsense. Though its great to see hockey return to the Gardens, so much more couldve been done with the Grand Old Dame.

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12-08-2012, 04:09 PM
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Interesting, Id not heard that before. Maple Leaf Gardens as well was left in a terrible state for almost a decade while MLSE, Loblaws & Ryerson fought one another over all kinds of nonsense. Though its great to see hockey return to the Gardens, so much more couldve been done with the Grand Old Dame.
Yes, I loved MLG and was there several times. You could really feel the history. All those pictures of Leaf cup teams from the 40's. What did they do with all that stuff. Did it move to the AC centre. Can't believe that MLG is now a grocery store.

The only other original 6 rinks I was in were the Montreal Forum and Boston Garden. Didn't they gut the Forum? The Boston Garden is completely gone. I had the experience one time of being right down at ice level when 2 of my sons attended a hockey clinic. Boy, what an experience looking up at those overhanging balconies. Like playing in a goldfish bowl. Watching a game from those balconies was great. The new garden has absolutely no atmosphere.

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12-08-2012, 04:12 PM
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I miss the galleries like in Toronto, Montreal and the Igloo. I miss the bowls with different coloured seats like in Toronto and Montreal, and I miss the fans right on top like in Boston and Chicago.

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12-08-2012, 04:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Phil View Post
I miss the old buildings a lot. Everything had a feel to it. In a way it made sense to move to a bigger building. For example Maple Leaf Gardens was built in 1931. It was a classic. But it was small. It had smaller seats and once people got bigger you were almost in there like sardines. They had to modernize it. But those old rinks had character which is something the new ones lack. Even watching the game at home you knew you were watching the Forum on TV, or Maple Leaf Gardens or Boston Garden. Or the Spectrum for that matter. You could tell from the noticeable monuments and architecture which building it was. When a player had a breakaway you would see the top of the fans' heads when they stood up and it almost gave you the feeling of being right there.

Now, everything is so wooden and cookie cutter. The names change on the buildings more times than you can shake a stick at and almost every building looks the same. There aren't any buildings in the NHL today where you can say "Now THAT is a nice barn." They all look like that and in a way it has hurt the home ice advantage, I think.

Ironically, maybe Joe Louis Arena is the only building that still has some nostalgia attached to it and has a noticeable look to it if you are watching on TV. Honestly, that might be the only building left with that type of history since the Igloo is gone in Pittsburgh. I understand why the Igloo left, I was there, there was long lines for the bathrooms, limited bathrooms, not enough concession stands and so on and so forth. But you at least had the feeling that Mario Lemieux had played here, and that was special.

So it is at best a mixed blessing for these new buildings. I can understand to a certain point but they don't build anything unique anymore. Now, Yankee Stadium (the old one) that I had the privilege of going to did it totally wrong. They still had a great facility and yet they build one across the street that looks exactly the same? It didn't make sense. I was at the old one and you could feel Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle there. I don't know how to explain it but you could. Same with the old hockey arenas. But you can't with the new ones and we've lost something that way.
Ironically Red wings are moving too. Illitch just announced plans to build a new $650.000.000 arena.

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12-08-2012, 05:53 PM
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Originally Posted by pappyline View Post
Yes, I loved MLG and was there several times. You could really feel the history. All those pictures of Leaf cup teams from the 40's. What did they do with all that stuff. Did it move to the AC centre. Can't believe that MLG is now a grocery store.
Most of the pictures were auctioned (along with seats, banners, you name it) off over a decade ago, though MLSE did retain some & hung them up in private suites, their own offices & so on down at the ACC.... the Forum is mixed commercial now, having retained the crossed stick elevators, a display where centre ice used to be.... but ya, the rest all gone. According to more than a few of the older players, Chicago Stadium was pretty scary. Really bad part of town, very close proximity to a an exceptionally rabid fan base, beyond loud, the dressing rooms in the basement & about 30 steps up or down, the place crawling with rats.... and ya. Ditto on those sentiments about the new buildings. All the same. Corridors of plastic, glass & metal. Without soul. Presence.

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12-08-2012, 07:30 PM
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darkhorse686
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According to more than a few of the older players, Chicago Stadium was pretty scary. Really bad part of town...
I found out this became a problem for the Olympia and a big reason why the Wings moved to JLA. After a huge riot in the late 60's, the area around the rink gradually became a bullet-proof-vest-required zone. lots of crime and poverty there.

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12-09-2012, 01:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pappyline View Post
Can't believe that MLG is now a grocery store.
Say what you will about a grocery store, you just know that there were developers who would have given their left nut to tear that place down and build a condominium that looks just like every other condominium in Toronto.

At least the grocery store keeps the place occupied with something anybody can walk into, and incorporates the building's design and the history of the place. It's a lot better than letting the place continue to be the rat-infested pisshole that it was after the Leafs abandoned it.

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12-09-2012, 04:35 PM
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Call me a sentimental sucker, but those seats in the old Buffalo Auditorium were steep and I think that sort of gave the place a little bit of charm. I've never seen steeper seats in my life to be honest. How a man didn't get killed is beyond me

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12-09-2012, 06:14 PM
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Don't forget Ryerson built a rink above the Loblaws at MLG. It actually mimics the shape of the original MLG, with the mini-galleries above the goals.


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12-09-2012, 06:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Killion View Post
Most of the pictures were auctioned (along with seats, banners, you name it) off over a decade ago, though MLSE did retain some & hung them up in private suites, their own offices & so on down at the ACC.... the Forum is mixed commercial now, having retained the crossed stick elevators, a display where centre ice used to be.... but ya, the rest all gone. According to more than a few of the older players, Chicago Stadium was pretty scary. Really bad part of town, very close proximity to a an exceptionally rabid fan base, beyond loud, the dressing rooms in the basement & about 30 steps up or down, the place crawling with rats.... and ya. Ditto on those sentiments about the new buildings. All the same. Corridors of plastic, glass & metal. Without soul. Presence.
The Forum does a pretty good job commemorating all the Canadiens history. Hell, the Forum probably does a better job than the Bell Centre now that the Habs have bulldozed Centennial Plaza to go build some condos. You really can't miss the fact that they used to play there. It's kind of dated as a building (it feels very 90s) but it was the first attempt to reuse a building, they were going to make some mistakes.

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