Tonight is the final opening night at Joe Louis Arena. In the past 21 years since I've been in Detroit, that place has played a huge roll for me with many hours of wintertime (and many Spring nights) watching. I've had the chance to play there several times, see many concerts, I've even hosted the in-between commercial breaks a few times. I've introduced Pop Evil for an acoustic set one night during intermission at a game and more.
But I'll never forget the first time I was in the JLA for a game. I was only in town for a few months. I moved here from Buffalo in the fall of 1995. The first game I watched at the Joe was the Sabres/Wings. I remember the Sabres scored first, and just like I did several times growing up, I started to leave my chair to cheer. Well, no one stood up with me. I think it was at that moment that I became a Wings fan. This was my new hometown. I didn't realize I'd be here this long, but I am and have made 'Hockeytown' my town.
Another great memory I have is turning my son into a Red Wings fan. See, my son had a way of purposely taking a different root than me at many turns. One time at a Harlem Globetrotters game he wanted to root for the Washington Generals just despite me! I'm sure you can guess how that turned out. To this day he says he hates chocolate just because I love it. I'm told he eats it all the time when I'm not around. Anyhow, I took him to a game in February of 2012. It was the Wings vs. the Sabres. Of course he wanted to wear all the Sabres garbage my family had gotten him over the years. I said to him if he was going to go, he had to wear Wings stuff. I told him not to wear the red hat, but that was a minor detail and I lost that battle. The Wings pummeled the Sabres 5-0 as Michigander Ryan Miller was pulled halfway through the game. They happened to be tapping "NHL 36" with Nick Lidstrom during that game. I texted Nick earlier in the day and asked if I could say "Hi" with my son and a couple friends. Nick always took good care of me and set up something after the game. That game turned my sons love for the Wings around. Now he's as tall as me and wears #91 just like Sergei Federov did.
It's going to be sad to see it go, but that new buildings is going to be amazing! GO WINGS!