On Sunday, Clint and I went to the last ever Red Wings game at Joe Louis Arena. Oh wait, I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned the fact that I’m a HUGE Red Wings fan. So, we might as well start there.
I didn’t grow up as a hockey fan. I grew up in Tennessee and we didn’t even get an NHL team until 1998, so I never really paid any attention to hockey, until I met Clint. When I met Clint, the Red Wings were about to go into their 11th straight playoff appearance. He jokes that he knew he loved me because he would sit in the hotel lobby, talking to me, instead of watching the playoff games. When I moved to Michigan with him, I started watching the games with him and fell in love with the Red Wings. Not long after Zach was born, we moved to Ohio. I never actually went to Joe Louis Arena during the time I lived in Michigan.
A few years ago, they started talking about building a new arena and I knew I had to see the Wings play at least one game at the Joe before they moved. I told Clint that I wanted to go to see the Red Wings play, for my birthday, so in March of 2011, I went to my first ever NHL game. I’m pretty sure that’s when I became obsessed with the Red Wings. The atmosphere at Joe Louis was unlike anything I had ever seen. The next season, we went to a game for Clint’s birthday, our anniversary and my birthday. Last season, I got to experience my first home playoff game. If I thought regular season hockey was great, it was nothing compared to a playoff game!
This year, knowing it was the last year the Wings would be at the Joe, we went to every game we could. We made sure we were at the first game of the season and we went to so many games after that. I’m not really sure how many we attended. We even took my sister to a game, when she came up to visit around Christmas. I’m pretty sure we turned her into a Wings fan too!
Even though I don’t know how many actual games we went to this year, I do know one thing. We were there for the first and last game of the last season at Joe Louis Arena. And if I thought a playoff game was nuts, it was nothing compared to the farewell game at the Joe.
The doors were supposed to open 30 minutes earlier than they normally do, so we got there right before 3:00 pm. There was already a crowd waiting, quite possibly because of the red carpet event an hour before.
Normally, when we go to games, there is a pretty good mix of Red Wings fans and the opposing team’s fans. At this game, I only saw three people wearing a Devils jersey. It’s a good possibility that there were a lot more Wings fans because the tickets were not cheap. Pretty sure I sold a kidney to pay for ours because we paid about five times what we normally do, but it was worth every penny. To the season ticket holders, that sold their tickets, what were you thinking?? I mean, I’m grateful and everything, that I was able to get one of those tickets, but I just don’t see how you could be a season ticket holder and NOT be at the last game at the Joe.
After walking around for a bit and buying a few pucks to add to our collection, we headed to our seats. They already had a light show going and I knew it was going to top the home opener. I took video, but can’t figure out how to get it on here, so this picture, before it all really started, will have to do.
Not only was it the last game at the Joe, it was also our captain, Henrik Zetterberg’s, 1,000th NHL game. I love Zetterberg, and even have a jersey with his name on it, so getting to see the ceremony for his 1,000th game was really cool.
Before the game had even started, there were 11 octopuses thrown on the ice. I decided to keep track of how many ended up on the ice throughout the night and there were more than 30 in total. If you are wondering why they throw octopus, on the ice, it’s because it used to take eight wins to win the Stanley Cup. In the picture below you can see Al Sobotka picking up the first one that was thrown.
After Steve Yzerman dropped the ceremonial puck, the game started. I was hoping for a great game, and we got one!
In the first period, Riley Sheahan scored his first goal of the season. All season the announcers constantly brought up the fact that the last time he scored was during the last game of the previous season. The crowd and his team went nuts when he scored that goal. Clint had joked, before the game, that if he scored, people would probably start throwing hats. No hats were thrown, but more octopuses ended up on the ice. Not long after, Tatar scored and we ended up closing out the first period 2-0.
During the second period, Zetterberg scored and put us up 3-0 at the end of the second period.
During the 3rd period, right off the bat, the Devils scored, and then they scored again. I was worried we were going to give the game away in the 3rd. I love the Wings, but it’s something they’ve done quite a bit this season. Thankfully, their second goal was reviewed and called off. I was really hoping Howard would get a shut out, for his final game at the Joe, but I guess that just wasn’t in the cards. It sure would have been a nice way to end the season, though.
We ended the game, winning 4-1, with Sheahan scoring not only the first goal of the game, but also the last. I guess he had to make up for not scoring all season long. Too bad he didn’t get one more and finish it off with a hat trick.
After the game, the players came out and raised their sticks to thank the fans. As part of the final game, all the fans got mini sticks that we also raised to the players.
About an hour after the game, the closing ceremony started and there were about 90 former players, current players, and staff that participated. The shot below was right before everyone came out. After this, I quit taking pictures so I could really pay attention to everything that was going on.
I read an article that told people to quit romanticizing the Joe. I really don’t think that’s what they are doing. I think people are remembering all the memories they experienced at the Joe. So I want to thank the Joe for all the memories I’ve made over the past few years. I attended my first ever NHL hockey game at the Joe. I attended my first playoff game at the Joe. I was at the game that broke the NHL record for most consecutive home wins. I saw my first overtime game at the Joe. I saw my first hat trick at the Joe. And I made a lot of memories, with my husband, during the two and a half hour drive it took us to get to Joe Louis. So, thank you, Joe, for the memories. You’ll be missed.