Mellon Arena: The Last Days

Tonight marks the last regular season game the Mellon Arena in Pittsburgh will ever see. Sure, it will get some play-off games in there, but this is the beginning of the end.

Despite growing up five hours away from the Igloo, I was able to catch a handful of games there. My first NHL games ever in fact. My family would stay at the Marriott across the street. Guys that walked through the lobby? Chris Chelios. Pavel Datsyuk. Steve Yzerman. Scotty Bowman. Just to name a few. In fact, I was squeezed up against Bowman in a crowded elevator.

I had awesome Igloo seats for the games I went to. I remember it clear as day: I saw the Colorado Avalanche, the St. Louis Blues and the Detroit Red Wings. A few of the names I watched skate by me: Mario Lemieux, Patrick Roy, Dominik Hasek, Peter Forsberg. Al MacInnis. Brendan Shanahan. Alexei Kovalev. Robert Lang. Martin Straka. I was in awe.

I even got to see my Baby Pens play two games there dressed in Pittsburgh Hornets jerseys.

I'm big on nostalgia. I tear up when I know it's the last time I'm walking out of a rink for the season - let alone EVER. I ache a little when I think of the season ticket holders who have been going to the Igloo for years. After you watch 40+ games a year in a place, it starts to feel like home.

The Igloo is not considered a nice facility in this day and age. But I loved it. I loved that silver dome. I loved the smell. I loved being packed in with thousands of people. I haven't been there in years, but I'll miss it.

It's hard to let go, isn't it?


Matt said...

i will admit, i got a little misty watching that game last night. I've seen my share of games in that arena. Mario, jag's, ronny franchise, ulfie, artie. I bought my only jersey there, 27 kovalev, which i still wear during the playoffs to this day. i was there at the tampa game where francis jagr and lemieux all set personal records, saw brodeur, hasek, patty lafontaine, just to name a few. i am gonna miss that place, i hope john barbero gets better soon, i don't like the new pa announcer. though brain cancer is a tough thing to over come.


Blog Template by YummyLolly.com