The Sabres get their last game in The Joe

Joe Louis Arena will be closing

Paul Hamilton
March 20, 2017 - 2:43 pm

Detroit, MI (WGR 550) - Joe Louis Arena opened on December 12, 1979 and housed the Detroit Red Wings for just over 37 years. The Red Wings will be in a new arena next season, so this is the Sabres last game in the old building. Buffalo won its only other game here this season 4-3 and overall are 13-23-6 in this building.

Gil Perreault is Buffalo’s all-time leading scorer in Joe Louis Arena with 14 points in 10 games.

Dan Bylsma only Stanley Cup victory came in this building in a Game 7. Being from Michigan, the head coach has many memories from this arena, “I go back a lot farther than that, but obviously Game 7 in here, the four hours in that dressing room after Game 7 were my most memorable as a coach for sure, but for me, my first NHL game I saw was in this building. I came and saw the Edmonton Oilers in their heyday play the Red Wings.”

“This was always the destination point for college hockey coming here. (He played for Bowling Green) The top seeded team always got this dressing room that we thought at the time was the Taj Mahal,” Bylsma said laughing. “It’s not quite that, but it when I walk in there, that’s what I remember, that was the dressing room to have.”

“I came here as a fan for four years watching Bowling Green, I came here as a player and this was the destination point and that’s my feeling when I walk back in here. Game 7, that was certainly the culmination of winning the Stanley Cup and in this building, it’s certainly one I’ll never forget.”

All the names of all the Red Wing teams that won the Stanley Cup and league awards are on the walls. Bylsma hopes that tradition doesn’t change, “To me this was the ultimate destination point for playing hockey and I hope the new building has this stuff on the walls, even though it’s on cinder block, because you see the history of this building and the history of the franchise and that’s my memories coming here.”

Last season Bylsma got a chance to meet Gordie Howe before he passed away. Bylsma said, “I got to meet Gordie in here, my once and only time meeting Gordie Howe and to me, it’s just another memory of this building and this franchise, it’s one I’ll never forget.”

Tyler Ennis has a memory of Joe Louis Arena that has nothing to do with a game he played in. Ennis said, “I love it. The first time I was there I actually went to go watch one of my friends, Darren Helm that I played junior with in the Stanley Cup Final, so that was the first time I was there.”

“Now that I’ve made the NHL and played in Joe Louis, it’s a great barn to play in. You’re in it right away, it’s smaller, it’s darker and it’s got so much character and every time you’re out there, it’s just amazing to be playing in a place with such history and it’ll be a fun one.”

Brady Austin has been called up to play his first NHL game. He’ll be paired with Zach Bogosian, while Casey Nelson will be with Jake McCabe. Austin said, “It’s a dream come true. Ever since I was a kid I wanted to play in the National League and I’m getting a chance tonight.”

Bylsma has had Austin in two training camps. He said, “He’s a big bodied guy. You’re talking about size and physicalness and a big body at 235 pounds and the one thing I think I’ve always liked about Brady is he still has the ability to skate with that size and that’s something I’m excited about seeing tonight.”

Detroit is still three points behind Buffalo with two games in hand. The Red Wings have won two in a row and three out of five.

In the two wins Detroit has scored 10 goals. Tomas Tatar has five goals in five games while Dylan Larkin has four points in three games.

Join Schopp and the Bulldog for the pregame beginning at 6:30 when they’ll be joined by Dan Bylsma, Tyler Ennis, Josh Gorges and Rasmus Ristolainen.      

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