Model of Little Caesars Arena shows new, exciting features

(Editor’s note: this article was co-authored by Nick Seguin)

As the Red Wings time in Joe Louis Arena begins to wind down, info has begun to leak out in regard to Little Caesars Arena. It is a part of a bigger plan in downtown Detroit and will be a cornerstone in the city for years to come. Over at the Detroit Free Press, they were given an opportunity to look at the arena and if the models are any indication, the place will be jaw-dropping.

Little Caesars Arena is taking from multiple different arenas and making it uniquely their own. It is tough to pull off, the finished product will give us a better look at what they have taken from but one of the noted arenas mentioned is the Bell Centre in Montreal.

“The lower level has 9,000 seats for hockey, 11,000 for basketball,” Tom Wilson, CEO of Olympia Entertainment said. “The Joe has 6,000 in the lower level. So, as an average fan, my view is going to be much better — 3,000 more people are going to be closer to the action. And then the suites, we brought down to about 24 rows up, and there’s two levels of them.”

  • In Montreal, the Bell Centre is one of the most intimidating rinks to play in due to the lack of outside light. All of the seats are close to the action, as the upper bowl looms over the ice, providing better sightlines for fans in the 500s. It’s also worth noting that the seats are 21 inches wide, compared to 16-17 inches at the Joe. Hurray for comfort!
  • The downtown area is going to mimic a lot of what Columbus did with Nationwide Arena and as the Blue Jackets continue to flounder, the area has been able to sustain regardless of the team’s performance. The development surrounding Little Caesars Arena is almost going to be just as important as the arena itself, as people continue to stay at home, attractions of all sorts can bring people in.

  • From Dallas’ American Airlines Centre, they borrowed the idea of having the players walk out onto the ice through the crowd. This will be a special member’s-only section that offers an up close and intimate view of your favourite players from both teams.
  • From Pittsburgh’s Consol Energy Centre, the Wings aped their spacious and luxurious dressing room facilities, where players’ families can hang out in a nearby 6,000-square foot lounge.
  • Outside of Tampa Bay’s Amalie Arena, there is a large screen where fans can catch all of the action happening inside. LCA will also have this, in the form of a patio capable of holding 4,000 fans. This will help contribute to the resurgence of downtown Detroit as a social spot with a lot happening, which is why the arena was plotted right downtown in the first place.

One really cool feature is the outer skin of the arena concourse. It’s all aluminum so they can change the colour or project on it, which means you can watch a larger-than-life version of the game while you’re out grabbing a beer or a bite to eat. 

And while Wilson touts that they are all about “creating the ultimate fan experience”, he also fully acknowledges that this will come at a price for those who really want it:

“It’s different price points for people,” Wilson said. “There’s some things for average fans and there’s some things for people that want a different kind of experience.”

Still, it’s time for a new arena in Detroit. The Joe is old and outdated and uncomfortable. It’s still going to be weird not seeing those iconic stairs on the waterfront. And Wilson promised that there will be no stairs like this at LCA, so don’t worry about having to carefully wobble down at the end of the game after a few of those Joe-sized beers. But hockey is not all about comfort and state-of-the-art facilities:

“(Joe Louis Arena’s) best features are the memories,” Wilson said of Detroit’s current home. “We were all there for a Stanley Cup game, or we were all there with our mom or our dad, or we took our kids.”

And the memories will live on no matter where the Wings play. So let’s enjoy this last season at the Joe and remember all of the great things that happened there, but also remember how terrible the bathrooms are.