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NHL’s classic rinks are dwindling

Joe Louis Arena has been the home to the Red Wings since 1979.

Jim McIsaac/Getty Images/File/2009

Joe Louis Arena has been the home to the Red Wings since 1979.

The Michigan Senate recently approved legislation that would help finance a potential new building for the Red Wings, thus bringing an end to Joe Louis Arena. The Joe is the fourth-oldest home rink in the NHL, and one of just five to predate the expansion era of the early 1990s.

A look at some of the league’s remaining classic rinks:

Madison Square Garden (dates to 1968)

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The Rangers played at the previous Garden, on Eighth Avenue, before moving to the venue atop Penn Station. The Rangers ended their Cup drought there in 1994. It was also the site of a 1979 melee in which several Bruins took to the stands for a fight.

Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum (1972)

The Islanders’ only home is on borrowed time; the team has committed to a 25-year lease at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn starting in the 2015-16 season. Just as well since the undersized building hasn’t been a destination since the Islanders’ heyday in the early ’80s.

Rexall Place (1974)

It’s been known by several names and housed many teams. The Oilers’ time there traces to the WHA, so it would be inaccurate to call it the House that Gretzky Built. The city of Edmonton has been in talks for a new downtown arena, which would make Rexall obsolete.

Joe Louis Arena (1979)

The Red Wings’ home is as timeless as their logo, but plans for a new multipurpose arena (funded by tax dollars and billionaire owner Mike Ilitch) fit into Detroit’s urban refurbishment. The Joe has hosted a Red Wings playoff game in 21 consecutive seasons.

Scotiabank Saddledome (1983)

The iconic building has kept its form since it was built to boost Calgary’s bid for the 1988 Winter Olympics. Aside from NHL games, it draws many of Canada’s premier sporting events. Flames fans have seen at least one playoff win there in 22 of 23 postseasons.

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