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Bacon: The building was ugly, but the hockey was beautiful

It is the end of multiple eras for sports fans in Michigan and specifically metro Detroit. Last night, the Detroit Red Wings played their final game at Joe Louis Arena, a place they have called home since 1979.

Tonight, the Detroit Pistons will play their last home game at the Palace of Auburn Hills, an arena where they've played since 1988.

The two franchises have a lot in common as they say goodbye to their respective arenas. Both saw a great deal of success. The Red Wings won four Stanley Cups (1997, 1998, 2002, 2008) and achieved a pro sports record 25 consecutive playoff appearances, while the Pistons won three NBA titles (1989, 1990, 2004) and made six consecutive conference finals (2002-08), something only one other team in history has done (Los Angeles Lakers 1981-1989) .  

Another thing they have in common is that both teams will move into Little Caesars Arena in midtown Detroit next season. However, they will do so on the heels of another unfortunate milestone. Their final season in their respective arenas will mark the first time since 1983 that the Pistons and the Red Wings have both missed the playoffs in the same year. 

Michigan Radio's sports commentator John U. Bacon joined Stateside to look back at Joe Louis Arena, the Palace and the Silverdome. 

For all of the nostalgia that has been piled on "The Joe" during the arena's final season, Bacon is quick to point out that the it was an ugly arena.

"The building stinks," Bacon said. "The building is ugly, but the hockey played in that building was beautiful. Honestly, over the last 30 years, it was the best place to watch a hockey game in terms of the quality of the product on the ice."

At the same time, while "ugly," Bacon concedes that The Joe didn't have a bad seat in the house, and was a great place to watch a hockey game. 

Listen to the full interview above to hear about some of the great concerts that these venues (including the Silverdome) have hosted over the years, and the main problems that Joe Louis Arena had when it was originally constructed.

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Red Wings win final game at Joe Louis Arena

A time-lapse of the final game at Joe Louis Arena

Stateside is produced daily by a dedicated group of producers and production assistants. Listen daily, on-air, at 3 and 8 p.m., or subscribe to the daily podcast wherever you like to listen.
Josh Hakala, a lifelong Michigander (East Lansing & Edwardsburg), comes to Michigan Radio after nearly two decades of working in a variety of fields within broadcasting and digital media.
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