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Babcock wants new arena for Red Wings

Feb 21, 2012, 4:16 PM EDT


The Red Wings may have won 23 straight games at home, but they’d still love a new home.

Detroit coach Mike Babcock went on the radio today and emphasized the need for state government to help in the effort to replace aging Joe Louis Arena.

“If we want the city to come back, we got to revitalize downtown,” Babcock said, as per the Detroit News. “And a big part of that’s going to be the new arena, and the mall and the stuff going around it. And that’s very important. That’s why we need the state to jump onside. The sooner the better, if we’re going to revitalize Michigan. It’s got to start right here in Detroit.”

The newspaper reports that a number of properties have been snapped up in the “blighted” downtown area in the vicinity of Comerica Park and Ford Field. This has led to speculation that a major development, which would include a new arena, could be in the works.

Wings owner Mike Ilitch, billionaire founder of a pizza, sports and entertainment empire known as Ilitch Holdings, has said for more than five years that he wants to build an arena downtown for the hockey team. He has indicated that financing is one of the snags in constructing such a facility.

Ilitch received $115 million from the city of Detroit, Wayne County and corporate investors and paid the remaining $185 million when he built Comerica Park, home of the Detroit Tigers, in the 1990s. The state financed infrastructure improvements. Economic experts and a Michigan pollster have said Ilitch won’t get as much public funding for a new hockey arena.

It hasn’t been the easiest time in the United States to be asking state governments for money to build stadiums, but the dramatic turnaround of the auto industry has actually resulted in a budget surplus for Michigan. That said turnaround and surplus was predicated on a massive government bailout might convince taxpayers that contributing to the revitalization of downtown is a worthwhile public investment.

  1. govtminion - Feb 21, 2012 at 4:23 PM

    Hear that, PHTers? A Red Wings post without trolls… it’s almost… blissful…


    Anyway, on topic- I have never actually been to Joe Louis Arena (as an Avs fan, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have left alive when I was younger). Is it in rough shape? Does it need replacing?

    I’m not saying this is a bad idea, don’t get me wrong- I’m just curious about the current facility’s state before wondering about building a fresh one.

    • michiganhockey11 - Feb 21, 2012 at 4:37 PM

      It’s not really in bad shape at all (not unlike next Cobo Hall next door). Not falling apart or anything like that. Just outdated or old as some might see it as that. (again-see urinal troughs in men’s rooms)

      To be honest, the only thing old would be the music that they play there. Not hating on it because it’s awesome, but as someone in their late 20’s, they’ve played the same music there since the first wings game I can remember.

      Visiting penalty-‘Hit the road jack’ Ray Charles-standard for more than 20 years
      Beatles-‘Saw her standing there’ with crowd singing “woooo!” on chorus line
      Many remix’s of “ya’ll ready for this”
      and many others

      It’s a great experience if you can come over for a game, regardless of who you root for.

  2. michiganhockey11 - Feb 21, 2012 at 4:29 PM


    I love ya dude, but there’s this thing called a balance sheet. Most city’s/states have them. Sure, the state of michigan might have a budget surplus, but the city of Detroit in no way is in good financial shape. Illitch won’t get a dime from the city in the condition it’s in. Perhaps he could get more from the county and corporate investors. We all know that bringing people downtown to games, to eat, etc. is a good thing for the city. Especially those restaurants that shuttle you to and from games to alleviate the “driving situation”

    It was a just bit before my time when the torch was passed from Olympia to ‘the Joe’. Sure, the Joe isn’t modern, lots of concrete gives it a bit of a cold feeling walking around the concourse, but it’s all I’ve ever known. A new arena if a huge investment and it needs to be well thought out by all parties involved. Nationwide in Columbus is actually a pretty nice venue for a hockey arena for comparison.

    If they do build a new one, they should encorporate some of the heritage of Olympia and JLA into it (sans the troughs in the men’s rooms-come on Mr. Illitch, always having to crunch numbers in your head on whether/whether not there’s adequate space between those guys to step in and drain that 1st period beer…no one should suffer from that!)

    • michiganhockey11 - Feb 21, 2012 at 4:39 PM

      At least with wall urinals, we have the rule of 3…

    • polegojim - Feb 21, 2012 at 5:49 PM

      As far as earnings, the Red Wings have helped Detroit make money.

      The Joe is tired…not as tired as some… but I believe it’s a realistic target.

  3. chiadam - Feb 21, 2012 at 5:20 PM

    Maybe Babcock should stick to things he knows. Well, unless he wants the state comptroller to call up with some coaching pointers. Why throw money at a new stadium when the team is drawing as is? And why, when the city and state finally have a little coin in their jeans, would you chose to spend it on a sports arena? I’m sure Detroit has more pressing needs. And if he thinks a new arena will help draw conventions and so on to Detroit, it won’t.

  4. paperlions - Feb 21, 2012 at 5:44 PM

    If any city wants to revitalize something….you’ll just have to wait until rich America decides to invest in it’s own country, bringing jobs back to the US, rather than having American owned companies having all of their factories outside the US.

    Shockingly, giving the already rich handouts (such as building an arena for the toy of a rich guy) doesn’t revitalize anything….it just makes rich people richer.

    • 4twistedlogic - Feb 21, 2012 at 5:50 PM

      Welcome to earth, when did you arrive?

    • govtminion - Feb 21, 2012 at 5:51 PM

      What, Facebook wasn’t enough, now you have to sign up under some fake name? Go away and practice hockey, Tim Thomas! 😉

      • paperlions - Feb 21, 2012 at 6:08 PM

        That is my personal life, I won’t comment on that…..

      • govtminion - Feb 21, 2012 at 6:36 PM

        Heh, well played!

  5. jamesmakesurmomneal - Feb 21, 2012 at 7:28 PM

    And the snooze a thon begins…congrats NBC you continue to keep hockey as a niche sport by catering to old men who just want to spew their political views in public. Hockey is evolving and so too should you, but instead you ban younger passionate fans…sad

  6. tgeth27 - Feb 21, 2012 at 8:12 PM

    Clearly Babcock is a hockey coach and not an economist. Detroit is one of the most economically depressed areas in the country since the recession and the decline of the auto industry. The Joe might be out of date but its not unusable. Call me when the Joe loses power twice in one game like the Mellon Arena

  7. AlohaMrHand - Feb 21, 2012 at 8:16 PM

    I’m guessing the Pistons and Wings would share said arena.

  8. Jeff - Feb 21, 2012 at 9:32 PM

    I love JLA. No hockey arena where I’ve attended a game has better sight lines. Amenities, like restrooms, and seats could be upgraded I guess.
    So if a new Detroit arena is built I recommend one just like The Joe sight lines but with better accoutrements.

  9. mrskunitzdrippinlips - Feb 22, 2012 at 6:10 AM

    these red wings think there owed something all the time. they are a hack of a team thay that can’t get the job done

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