Photo of the ice at Joe Louis Arena, former home of the Detroit Red Wings.

There are really no modern NHL arenas that can compare to former venues such as Civic Arena (Pittsburgh Penguins), Maple Leaf Gardens (Toronto Maple Leafs) and the Montreal Forum (Montreal Canadiens). All three arenas which are now defunct, exuded character, history and fanfare. Newer NHL arenas such as Bridgestone Arena (Nashville Predators) and Gila River Arena (Arizona Coyotes) are shiny but very corporate. Gone are the days when history meant something; club seating, private suites and bells and whistles seem to be the driving force behind the construction of new NHL arenas. Here are three now defunct NHL arenas that hockey fans truly miss.


3. Pittsburgh Civic Arena, Pittsburgh Penguins

Photo of the ice at Mellon Arena, former home of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Formerly known as Mellon Arena as well as "the Igloo" due to its shape, Civic Arena was home to the Pittsburgh Penguins for 43 years. Although rarely used, the venue was the only arena in NHL history with a retractable roof. Civic Arena was located across the street from the Penguin's new home- PPG Paints Arena and is in the process of being demolished as we speak. Civic Arena was examined as to whether or not it belonged on the list of national historic places. By 2010, the Penguin's last season there, the Igloo had become the oldest arena in the NHL. In it's 43 year history, the Penguins had amassed three Stanley Cup championships.


2. Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto Maple Leafs

Photo of the ice at Maple Leaf Gardens, former home of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The Toronto Maple Leafs won a whopping 11 Stanley Cup titles during their 68 years while playing at Maple Leaf Gardens. It was the first NHL arena to feature two separate penalty boxes. The old hockey arenas would actually put offending players in the same box. The Gardens have changed owners several times since Maple Leaf Gardens' initial construction in 1931. The arena still stands today in downtown Toronto, Ontario although the Maple Leafs played their final home game there back in 1999. The majority of the structure has since been converted into a major grocery chain but the building is still home to hockey. The Ryerson University Men's hockey team play their home games there. Those young men should feel fortunate every day they step onto the ice.


1. Montreal Forum, Montreal Canadiens

Photo of the ice at Montreal Forum, former home of the Montreal Canadiens.

Named after a former skating rink, the Montreal Forum is by far the most important arena in NHL history. With 72 years of hockey and 24 Stanley Cup championships under its belt, the Forum has history that no other NHL arena could ever match. The seating areas were very small which created an intimate hockey experience for fans with no bad seats in the entire arena. Although the Montreal Canadiens were the primary tenant, the Forum was also home to the Montreal Maroons, a former NHL team. The Forum still stands today although the interior has been demolished. The site is considered a National Historic Site of Canada. Today, you will find a number of businesses and attractions near the old venue including a movie theater; be sure to stop by and pay tribute if you are ever visiting Montreal.

Our staff has great appreciation for sporting venues that boast so much history and are close to so many people's hearts. These arenas were once cathedrals to Canada's favorite pastime and we all wish they were still here.