Red Wings Sell Out Opener At New Venue; Bettman Promises All-Star Game, Draft
A sellout crowd of 19,515 at Little Caesars Arena on Thursday for the venue's first Red Wings game "roared throughout the evening," as the team "christened the lavish new arena with plenty of highlights," according to Ted Kulfan of the DETROIT NEWS. The Red Wings "couldn’t have asked for a better opening to the regular season or to Little Caesars Arena" with a 4-2 win over the Wild (DETROIT NEWS, 10/6). In Detroit, Mitch Albom in a front-page piece writes the new venue is "less a sports arena than a destination, a small indoor city that opens to the outside through bars and restaurants you can frequent even on non-game nights." The sound system is "incredible" and the seats are "cherry red." Even the bathrooms have "tile on the walls fit for a showroom" with LED screens (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 10/6). USA TODAY's Kevin Allen writes Little Caesars Arena will "set a new standard for modern NHL facilities." Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said, "There are not enough adjectives to describe the rink. To me, it’s the best in the world." NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman "gave the arena rave reviews." Bettman: "I don’t know how you could do better than this." He added, "The intimacy of the building is incredible. It’s hard for me to believe there are 20,000 seats for hockey, but there are." Allen writes the arena design is "so fresh that players have noticed that fans are taking their time returning to their seats after intermission" (USA TODAY, 10/6).
PIZZA PARTY: In Detroit, Gregg Krupa reports former NHLers Tomas Holmstrom and Nicklas Lidstrom were "clearly envious" of the "vastly improved facilities for the players." Lidstrom said, "They thought of everything. I think it’s an advantage for the guys. It’s a big advantage to have the practice rink right there." NBC's Mike Emrick said, "There isn’t anything about this arena I haven’t liked. I shot 40 stills on Friday morning and got two copies of each made at Walmart!" Bettman said that "big NHL events -- an All-Star Game, an entry draft -- would eventually come to Little Caesars Arena" (DETROIT NEWS, 10/6). Bettman said that those big league events "will be held in the arena in a few years, after construction is finished of the neighborhood surrounding the arena." Bettman: "When we bring guests in from all over the world, they can see what the entire vision was and how it has played out. Whether that’s two, three or four years, when all the construction is done, we will be here with league events. I have no doubt about that" (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 10/6). In Michigan, Ansar Khan noted Detroit "hasn't hosted" an ASG since '80, the first season at Joe Louis Arena. The only entry draft in Detroit was in '87 (MLIVE.com, 10/5).