I wake up the morning of the NHL Winter Classic a bit like a kid on Christmas…but who has to wait until 1pm to open his gifts.
Watching the New Year’s Day outdoor ice hockey game—about to be played for the fourth year in a row—has quickly become a tradition for me and I find myself eying the clock, counting down the hours until the early afternoon game.
This January 1, when the Pittsburgh Penguins host the Washington Capitals in the 2011 edition of the Winter Classic, I imagine the wait will seem even longer, as I’m a Caps fan and am anticipating the game even more than usual.
The pregame show, hockey blogs and Twitter chatter—perhaps even the occasional glance and head nod to a member of the family—will no doubt help pass the minutes on New Year’s Day until the drop of the puck.
But there’s one other thing that I wouldn’t mind seeing that day as I wait for some hockey to start. It involves dynamite, live television and a conveniently located, rather large structure that may already be headed toward extinction.
Mellon Arena sits just about a mile from Heinz Field, the site of the 2011 Winter Classic. Also known as the Civic Arena, Civic Auditorium or The Igloo, Mellon Arena is the former home of the Penguins, who began playing in the CONSOL Energy Center at the start of this season.
With the Penguins in their new home, Pittsburgh’s Planning Commission made a decision to demolish the Civic Arena. But last week, “Hill District resident Eloise McDonald nominated the 49-year-old landmark for designation as a city historic structure,” according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (h/t Puck Daddy).
The Post-Gazette reports, “The nomination will go before the Historic Review Commission for a recommendation and then back to the planning commission, which would then make a recommendation to City Council.”
I’ll leave the decision on whether or not to save The Igloo up to the city of Pittsburgh. Maybe they’ll find a way to keep it and put it to good use.
And to be clear here, I’m not someone who will take pleasure in watching The Igloo get turned into a pile of rubble because it’s where one of my team’s rivals played its games. I’m more interested in how my team will do when they face the Pens for years to come in other arenas.
But, if demo is the route the city chooses on this one, why not let us all watch it the morning of the Winter Classic? If the The Igloo is to go, Pittsburgh, let it be done in style.
If you can’t find an outlet to broadcast it, take it to the web. Or maybe this guy with Pittsburgh roots and who c0-founded a TV network can help.
11 a.m. (with a half hour of televised build-up beforehand) on January 1 works for me. Roll old tape of Mario and past Cup winners, whatever you want to do. Make sure you get in some footage of the time Elvis played there and keep the wrecking ball at home—if the old barn is coming down, dynamite the joint and give us a show. And then everyone can head across the river to Heinz Field and create some new history.
- Washington Capitals, Pittsburgh Penguins to be on HBO ’24/7′ reality show for Winter Classic (sports.espn.go.com)