Ain’t it funny how time slips away?
It’s already been a decade since the Pittsburgh Penguins played their last game in their first home of the Civic Arena on May 12th, 2010. The old, unique barn that held so many memories closed with a whimper as the team lost Game 7 of a Eastern Conference semifinals series against the Montreal Canadiens by the score of 5-2.
The old scoreboard is really a thow-back to what once was, and will never be again.
It’s sad, but kind of fitting in a weird way that the team’s home just faded away with a loss. It capped an exciting time, being one year after winning the Stanley Cup, and two years after Detroit skated the Cup on Igloo ice.
It feels like a bit of a blank space that all three Cups the Pens won in the Civic Arena era were clinched on the road — 1991 in Minnesota, 1992 in Chicago and 2009 in Detroit. Of course, 2016 and 2017 were won on the road too.
From the last game, Jordan Staal scored the final Pens’ goal in the building. Montreal’s Brian Gionta scored the last goal overall. Pittsburgh took the last penalty in the building, a too many men call that, as you can see from the scoreboard above, Tyler Kennedy was in the penalty box as the final whistle sounded.
The Pens didn’t go far, as their state-of-the-art building known as PPG Paints Arena is right across the street. The old Igloo is currently a big parking lot, awaiting redevelopment by the team and the city into a multi-purpose space dreamed of being offices, retail and residential areas. Gone are the rats that lurked in the lower levels, gone is that unique smell that defies explanation, but hearkens the instant memory. Maybe it was part popcorn, maybe part spilled beer just ingrained in the musty air. The booming voice of the legendary John Barbero. The unique shrill of the “Cotton Candy guy”. The home of Mario, Jagr, Sid, Geno and all those that came before.
It was a wonderful place and a leaves a nostalgic mark on the franchise and everyone who was able to go there. My own grandfather was a part of the construction of the building in the early 1960’s. The old barn outlived its place as a home for a big league team, but it will live on as souvenirs of its distinctive roof. The mark and memories will last as long as the team it housed.
At the official opening of the Civic Arena’s dome on July 4, 1962, #Pittsburgh Press photographer Dale Gleason was moved to shoot a time exposure of the event. As the roof made its epic journey, he opened his shutter a number of times, thereby “x-raying the Civic Arena”. #Igloo pic.twitter.com/9K7ycyVVFq— Odd Pittsburgh (@OddPittsburgh) May 11, 2020