Tonight marks the final time the Toronto Maple Leafs will play the Detroit Red Wings at the historic Joe Louis Arena in Detroit. It’s an iconic arena with lots of memories, the site of many exciting games between these two rivals.
I have had the pleasure of attending a number of games at “The Joe,” and I always associate it with Steve Yzerman, long time Red Wings captain, who I was fortunate to meet before his NHL stardom at a hockey school every year through my teens just outside Ottawa.
As Joe Louis arena holds its last few NHL games it has me thinking about sports facilities that remain on my bucket list. Here are five, that are getting older and I need to cross off the list before they too are upgraded for new construction.
1) Fenway Park, Boston
Fenway Park has been home to the Boston Red Sox since it opened in 1912. It is the oldest major league baseball stadium that is still in use. The stadium is noted for its quirky features like The Triangle, Pesky’s Ple and most notably the famous Green Monster in left field.
The Red Sox are a big rival of my team, The Toronto Blue Jays, and this summer it will be no different with both teams expecting to do well and battle each other for a playoff spot.
I have only been to Boston once and it was in the winter. This summer would be a great time to check out Fenway. I know my son Ethan would love it.
2) Madison Square Garden, New York
I almost went to Madison Square Garden to see a Rangers playoff game, but ended up at The Flying Puck pub instead once I realized how much the ticket was going to set me back. It was 2012 and the Ottawa Senators were playing the Rangers.
Affectionately referred to as “MSG” or simply “The Garden,” the arena is still on my list. The Garden opened on February 11, 1968, and is the oldest major sporting facility in the New York metropolitan area. It is officially the oldest arena in the National Hockey League and the second-oldest arena in the National Basketball Association.
3) Wrigley Field, Chicago
Remarkably I have somehow never been to Chicago and never been to Wrigley Field. Wrigley is home to the Chicago Cubs and opened two years after Fenway in 1914. The NFL’s Chicago Bears also called Wrigley home from 1921 through 1970 before they moved over to Soldier Field.
Wrigley is known for its ivy-covered brick outfield wall, the unusual wind patterns off Lake Michigan, the iconic red marquee over the main entrance, the hand turned scoreboard, and for being the last major league park to have lights installed for play after dark, with lighting installed in 1988.
My son jumped on the Cubs bandwagon last fall and seeing them at home would be amazing.
4) Lambeau Field, Green Bay
Home to the NFL’s Green Bay Packers, Lambeau Field opened in 1957. Picking the right time to see a game at Lambeau Field is critical. To give you a hint, its nickname is the “Frozen Tundra” for the frigid conditions and often frozen playing field. The nickname was a result of a game played in 1967 between the Packers and the Dallas Cowboys where the temperature that day was minus 26 degrees Celcius.
I’m personally not a huge NFL fan, but I love the fact the Packers are a community-owned team and will happily to sport a cheese head and cheer them on at Lambeau . . . in September or October!
5) Dodgers Stadium, Los Angeles
After writing about the “Frozen Tundra,” a trip to Dodger Stadium seems appealing. Opened in 1962, Dodger Stadium is the home to the Los Angeles Dodgers. It is the largest baseball stadium in the world with a seating capacity of 56,000. The stadium, built in the Los Angeles community of Chavez Ravine in Sulfur Canyon, overlooks downtown Los Angeles and provides views of the city to the south, the green tree-lined hills of Elysian Park to the north and east, and the San Gabriel Mountains beyond the outfield pavilions. It’s a beautiful location to take in a ball game.
Which iconic sport stadiums are on your bucket list?