Enjoy Pittsburgh home games during the 2010 NHL playoffs because the days of the old Pittsburgh Civic Arena are numbered. Now called Mellon Arena (but better known in my mind as The Igloo), it looks pretty likely that it will meet the wrecking ball this summer as the Penguins move into their new digs, the Consol Energy Center. I’m sure you’ve started to figure out there are times when I’m glad a team moves into a new facility (the Twins and Target Field being a recent example) and there are other times I’m not. This is one of them. Part of what I love about stadiums is there uniqueness and this was certainly one of them. I don’t think you will see any built like this with the Igloo shaped top and the interesting interior design. The roof is actually retractable and the first one ever made. It’s amazing that this building was actually created for the Pittsburgh Opera and ended up playing host to quite a wide range of sporting events. But it will most be known for as being home to the Penguins. No NHL buildings are close to looking like The Igloo and I don’t think any will ever be…it’s a shame that it could not make it past it’s 50th birthday.
So that leaves us with five NHL arenas not built during the 90s or 2000s. Out of the five, the only one I would not mind losing is the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Long Island. I greatly appreciate history and what happened there in the 80s and I also appreciate when it was absolutely rocking in 2002 when the Islanders faced the Leafs in the playoffs. But unless they can get that atmosphere consistently (which they can’t, since they did return to the playoffs in 2006-2007 and the intensity/loudness just wasn’t there), it’s time for it to go. I’ve been to that arena and it really is not much more than a glorified minor league arena. The other arenas: Joe Louis Arena (Detroit), MSG (New York), Saddledome (Calgary) and Rexall Place (Edmonton). We’ve lost too many of the classics and I really, really hope the rest of these are with us for awhile longer (especially the last three).