MTM On The Road: Your Inside Tour of Hockeytown’s New Home, The Little Caesars Arena
This year, after 25 years of planning, Hockeytown has a new home in The District Detroit, The Little Caesars Arena.
After 39 seasons at the Joe Louis Arena, the Illitch family wanted to build an arena that would serve as a connector between midtown and downtown Detroit, thus became the Little Caesars Arena.
The $863 million project has been in the making for three years, and now that it’s finished, this is what you need to know.
Our tour guide inside the arena is Chris Granger, the Group President of Sports and Entertainment.
Granger starts our tour with a warm greeting, telling us, “Welcome! We are happy to have you here at Little Caesars Arena, what we think is now one of the biggest arenas in the world.”
The walkway of the arena is called the via, Granger tells us the via, “is meant to represent a Downtown Detroit street scape. We have 4 different restaurants here that will serve whether or not there’s an event going on. There is natural light, it should make it feel like you’re walking on a downtown street here in Detroit.”
Walking down the via there are countless attractions for visitors.
There’s an augmented reality screen where fans can pose next to their favorite Detroit players, the original Olympia letters, nods to the motor city, and of course, the ever growing scent of all things hot and cheesy, we’re talkin’ pizza.
“We often joke it’s not just an arena with great food and beverage, but it’s the best sports bar in the world that happens to have live sports going on,” says Granger.
“There’s so many food and beverage options. Like we said there is over 100 different points of sale throughout the arena where you can get anything from burgers to pizza to nachos, arena favorites.”
While there are many pizza options inside the LCA one of the favorites is Mike’s Pizza Bar.
Mike’s Pizza Bar is the corner stone of the LCA.
The bar pays homage to Mike Illitch himself whose first job was selling pizza in Detroit.
This is definitely one of the more delicious ways of admiring the new building, but now that we have our fuel, Granger and I keep moving.
Next we arrive at photo opp swarmed by fans, it’s the original Joe Lewis Arena bench right in the via.
“In the via of Little Caesars Arena we have the original bench from Joe Lewis Arena, the Red Wings bench where they won 4 Stanley Cups,” says Granger.
“So you can get your picture taken on the bench. It is the original bench, the original Plexiglas, the original dasher-boards around it. It’s really cool, and as you’ll see, it’s a lot of fun.”
Granger and I smile for the camera holding up number one for the Red Wings, and keep moving.
Now let’s take a moment to recap.
The Little Caesars Arena has more food, more attractions, and there’s another addition, gondola seats.
I asked Chris how these new seats came about and he said, “These are called the Michigan First Gondolas. There is arguably not that much like this in North America. These are inspired by the gondolas you would find at the Bell Center in Montreal.
You are literally right over the ice, right over the playing surface. There is really no view like this anywhere in the country so this is a lot of fun for people to be up here.”
From up top, to 40 feet below, the luxuries continue.
We continue our tour to check out the Belfor Training Center.
The center is located directly below the competition rink so no matter what event is going on, Red Wings have the ease and comfort of practicing at home.
I had the opportunity of asking Red Wings Player Dylan Larkin how it was for players switching over to the new arena, he said, “It’s something new for everyone, whether you’re a fan, or you know working in the building, and like us we’re playing.
It’s something different. It’s a beautiful state of the art, probably one of the nicest buildings in the NHL, we are really lucky to have that.”
The Little Caesar’s Arena may very well be one of the best arenas in the world, but the facility and team would be nothing without us, their fans.
That’s why Red Wings encourage you to make the trip, come be a part of hockey town!
I asked Red Wings player, Justin Abdelkader how it is different for people from Northern Michigan to come see the team play at the LCA than when we see them at training camp in the summer?
Abdelkader replied, “We obviously love going up to Traverse City for our training camp, it’s awesome the support we get from Northern Michigan, it’s great. But you know, when you come down to Little Caesars Arena, it’s a special Arena, its top arena in the country, maybe in world which is worth definitely coming down to see and experience and see the game. There’s a lot about a new arena that is exciting, but I think this place is extra special.”
The Little Caesars Arena is expected to have over two-million guests by March, but their goal is the exact same as it was nearly three years ago when they broke ground; To not only build what is an incredible arena, but to build a home for their home, Hockeytown.
The Little Caesars Arena does have a schedule for upcoming Red Wings games, Pistons games, and concert events.
For more information on that and how you can check it out for yourself, click here.