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Times have surely changed.

Seems like only yesterday when the modern Joe Louis Arena replaced the venerable and much loved Olympia Stadium as home of the Detroit Red Wings. The date was 1979 and the new place was criticized by some as antiseptic and lacking in character.

Now thirty six later the Joe is being celebrated as old school as it opens its last season.

Next year it will be replaced by the Little Caesars Arena, part of huge entertainment district in downtown Detroit.

“Little Caesars Arena will be everything Joe Louis Arena is not, for better and for worse’, wrote Nicholas Consonika in NHL.com.”he Joe has character and gives the Red Wings an old-school home-ice advantage. It is one of the last unique rinks left when so many new ones are essentially the same. It’s named for a boxer, not a bank”.

“It’s not a big show around it,” Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg¬†¬†once said. “You come in and watch hockey.”

Interestingly, writes Consonika,”The end boards are the last in the NHL still made of actual wood”.

They opened the place on October 16, 1980 against the New York Islanders. Next year, at this time they will be opening the next generation of Red Wing’s home. Maybe some time, thereafter, they will refer to Little Caesars (or whatever) the corporate name might be down the road the we The Joe and the Olympia are being recalled today.

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