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Islanders Say Goodbye to Joe Louis Arena

Doug Weight, Anders Lee and Josh Bailey share their memories at "The Joe"

by Cory Wright WrightsWay / New York Islanders

Doug Weight has already played his last game at Joe Louis Arena, but on Tuesday morning the Islanders Interim Coach laced up his skates for one last lap around "The Joe." 

"It's a great building, I always loved coming back. I grew up in Detroit, so it was always fun," Weight said. "It's sad though, so that's why I went on the ice, the last time on the Joe." 

Weight grew up in Warren, MI, a suburb of Detroit about a half hour from The Joe, so the arena has a special place in his heart. He's seen it from all angles, in the red and white seats as a fan, on the ice as a player and and the first time Tuesday night as an NHL Head Coach.

"I was here when it opened," he said. "It's always nice to get the amenities of a new building, but there's something about those older buildings. It's a great place to watch a game. I watched a lot of hockey here." 

The Islanders' coach was feeling nostalgic on Tuesday, but admittedly said his love for the building dipped during his playing career. Weight's 19 years in the NHL coincided with Detroit's streak of 25-straight playoff appearances (1990-91 - Present) and four Stanley Cups (96, 97, 02, 08). 

"The love of the Joe slowly sifted out of me with defeat after defeat with Edmonton and St. Louis," Weight joked. "In St. Louis we had a great team, but we couldn't find a way to beat these guys, but they had a special era in this building."

Weight wasn't the only Islander to have memories and affection for the arena. Anders Lee and Notre Dame won the 2013 CCHA conference championship at Joe Louis Arena, which hosted the game from 1982-2013.

"So far my best memory is winning the CCHA here at Notre Dame in the last year of the conference," Lee said. "Fun way to close out that historic conference with a win here at The Joe."

Video: NYI@DET: Bailey capitalizes on Mrazek's miscue

Josh Bailey also has fond memories of the building, from watching Steve Yzerman as a kid, to playing junior hockey across the Detroit River in Windsor, ON. 

"It's a special arena," Bailey said. "There's a lot of history here and a team that I grew up watching quite a bit of. I watched some games where, when I played in Windsor I was able to come see a couple and dreamed of playing here one day, so its nice to get to play here for one last night."

His top memory - spinning off Hall of Fame defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom and scoring a goal in his first game in Detroit. 

"Your rookie season you're still in awe of stuff like that and getting the chance to play against some of those guys," Bailey said. "It was just a tap in, backdoor, but something I remember forsure."

Weight said he's heard that Little Caesar's Arena - the Red Wings new home - is a wonderful facility - though he wondered aloud if it'll have the same lively boards The Joe was renowned for. Time will tell, but on this day, more than likely the last time the Islanders visit, was taking in one last skate and two big points to start the road trip.

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