Skip to main content
The Official Site of the Pittsburgh Penguins

Pens bid farewell to The Joe

by Sam Kasan @PensInsideScoop / Pittsburgh Penguins

Pittsburgh visits Detroit's famous Joe Louis Arena for the final regular-season matchup before the Red Wings move into their brand-new facility next year. 

It will be a special night for many Pens, especially the Michigan natives that grew up watching the Wings celebrate four Stanley Cup championships in The Joe, which was erected in 1979.

"I played a lot of games at Joe Louis. Ever since I was 8, 9, 10 years old," Ann Arbor native Ian Cole said. "It was always a treat to play here. Especially growing up, watching those Cup teams play here, a ton of history in this rink. All through my hockey career I've had some connection to Joe Louis."

"In college we won the CCHA championship here. That's what I'll remember most," said Notre Dame alumnus and Pontiac, Michigan native Bryan Rust. "As a fan growing up, being a player in college, being a player now, there are so many memories for me, for the Wings and for the city."

But of course, the greatest moment in Pens history to take place in this building was Pittsburgh's 2-1 victory against the Red Wings in Game 7 of the 2009 Stanley Cup Final to capture the franchise's third championship.

"It was a crazy game with the way it finished," Crosby recalled. "It was pretty nerve-wracking, but I was able to soak it all in."

Pens fans certainly remember the two grueling Stanley Cup Final series between the Pens and Wings in 2008 and '09, each team winning a title. But there are a lot of other memories for the players beyond that series.

"For guys getting the opportunity to play here, it's a special building and they have a great appreciation for it," Crosby said. "They love hockey here. The history of the team here and the rivalries and games that we've played has been great hockey.

"The ice here has always been unbelievable here, too."

Although the stakes aren't as high in this game as those Cup Final contests that doesn't make it any less special when the puck drops.

"It's going to be hard to treat it as any other game, but you have to if you want to be successful," Cole said. "The new rink will be awesome, but it won't have the history that this one does."

Penguins Radio Network play-by-play announcer Mike Lange, the voice of the Pens for over 40 years, has called games at Joe Louis Arena throughout its entire history.

"I remember when the Joe opened. It was the 'state-of-the-art' building," Lange said. "Everybody talked about it. It was new and that was a special thing. The Red Wings have made that their stalwart place because they won so many Cups there and had such great teams. It's fun to come into."

When the game ends tonight for many Pens and the Michigan players all that will remain of the building will be those precious memories.

"It's bittersweet this possibly being the last game here," said Cole, who also won a college league championship in Joe Louis Arena with Notre Dame. "We won a CCHA here. I scored a hat trick here when I was 10 years old. A lot of good memories."

 

View More