5 Best NHL Venues That Were Shut Down

There was a time in sports when a stadium would be in use for more than half a century. Now, it seems that these days, sporting venues are demolished or left to rot after just a couple of decades. Hockey is no exception as teams move into billion-dollar complexes in their cities, leaving their old historic barns behind.

Over the years, there have been some amazing venues that closed their doors for the final time, with most of them being demolished in favor of either a new arena or an entirely different project. This has meant that some classic arenas are long gone, but that doesn’t mean we don’t miss them. Here are the five best NHL venues that were shut down, what made them great, and what happened to them.

5. Boston Garden

While New York City has Madison Square Garden, Boston got their own version with what was then known as Boston Madison Square Garden. Not only that but the venue was built with boxing in mind, so it was interesting that it became such a beloved home of the Bruins and Celtics. The Bruins called Boston Garden home from 1928 to 1995, and while it had its flaws with the benches and penalty boxes, it had a lot of character.

The Bruins and Celtics moved to the TD Garden while the old Boston Garden was torn down. The lot was put to good use, though, as it is now a commercial hub that has some of Boston’s tallest buildings. 

4. Chicago Stadium

On West Madison Street in Chicago, you could find the old Chicago Stadium that was truly the original Madhouse on Madison. Opened in 1929, the Chicago Blackhawks moved their operations to the new building after starting off the franchise at the Chicago Coliseum. Chicago Stadium was known for having an analog game clock longer than any other team, switching to digital in 1975.

The Blackhawks and Bulls headed down the street to the new United Center while Chicago Stadium was torn down in March 1995 it now simply serves as a parking lot for the UC with a commemorative plaque. As for the center of the basketball court, Michael Jordan has it in his house.

3. Maple Leaf Gardens

There are only two buildings that didn’t get demolished on the list, and the first one is known as The Church of Hockey for good reason. Maple Leaf Gardens was first opened in 1931 after the Toronto Maple Leafs had been playing at Arena Gardens and needed a new building to house their fans with the NHL surging in popularity. The stadium was home to the Leafs until 1999 and became a Mecca for hockey fans.

After nobody was really sure what to do with MLG for a few years, it was purchased and turned into a multi-purpose facility that includes a shopping center. Much of the hockey history is still preserved in the building, as well, including the center faceoff dot.

2. Detroit Olympia

The Detroit Red Wings used to call one of the most unique-looking buildings in the NHL their home from 1927 until 1979, and at the time of its opening, it was one of the largest indoor venues in all of sports. The Olympia had a capacity of 15,000 Red Wings fans while playing host to the biggest concerts in the Motor City. The neighborhood surrounding it had become rundown, though, prompting the Wings to move.

The Red Wings headed to the Joe Louis Arena downtown next to Cobo Hall before it was demolished, leaving the Olympia on its own. The Olympia would be torn down in 1986, while the Red Wings moved to Little Caesars Arena near midtown in 2017.

1. Montreal Forum

The final arena on the list is the only other one beside Maple Leaf Gardens to not be demolished. The Montreal Forum opened in 1924 and was originally home to the Montreal Maroons of the NHL before the Canadiens also joined in 1926. The Canadiens, obviously, would last longer and play at the Forum until 1996. The Forum was a beloved arena that was expanded and renovated until the Habs looked for a new building.

The Montreal Forum has had a massive interior renovation, while the exterior mostly remains the same. The building remains as a movie theater that’s owned and operated by AMC while the Canadiens moved to the Bell Centre (or still Molson Centre to some) where they continue to play to this day.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *