It’s time to say goodbye to Joe Louis Arena. The Detroit Red Wings play their final game there Sunday against the New Jersey Devils, a day that’s sure to be emotional for everyone involved, from the organization to the players, from the arena workers to the fans. Here at the Free Press, we’re trying to send off “The Joe” the best we can, through a nostalgic look back at the greatest moments, plus a recollection of our favorite memories from a variety of perspectives and more photos than you can handle.
Today marks the 20th anniversary of the game played on March 26, 1997, between the defending Stanley Cup champion Colorado Avalanche and the Red Wings — a game fittingly played at a hockey arena named after a boxing champion.
Gordie Howe, more commonly referred to as “Mr. Hockey” passed away at the age of 88. He played for the Detroit Red Wings for twenty-five seasons during a time when the National Hockey League had six teams, however, his fame extended well beyond Detroit. He is the Red Wings career leader in goals, points, games and most notably, goodwill. He led the Wings to four Stanley Cup titles and his number “9” is probably the most famous in the city of Detroit. He will always be remembered as one of the great icons in Detroit. Rest in peace, Mr. Hockey.