Down Goes Brown: A strange Wikipedia fact for each NHL arena

The Wayne Gretzky statue is on the move. The bronze piece was taken down from in front Rexall Place on Thursday in preparation for its new home at Rogers Place.

Wikipedia is a fascinating website. As everyone knows, it’s maintained and edited by the general public, which leads to a trove of information that’s… what’s the word I’m looking for? Not accurate. Or trustworthy. Or even especially credible. But interesting! That’s it. The site is always… interesting.

And that’s largely because when you let the general public decide what’s worth mentioning, you find that they don’t just focus on the positive. When you give everyone access to the edit button, you’re going to get the good, the bad, the ugly, and (especially) the just plain weird.

A few years ago, I went through the Wikipedia entry for every NHL team to find the saddest, strangest or most regrettable passage on each team’s page. It ended up being lots of fun – we learned about murdered rodents, injured mascots, and how to use “hoodoo” in a sentence. Also, someone slipped a haiku into the Penguins’ page that remains there to this day. So, good times all around.

Today, let’s take another tour around Wikipedia’s version of the league. But this time, we won’t use the teams themselves. Instead, let’s remember that home is where the heart is, as we highlight the strangest passage from the Wikipedia page of every NHL teams’ arena.

Air Canada Centre (Toronto Maple Leafs)
On Oct. 3, 2003, the ACC had a power outage during the third quarter of a Toronto Raptors pre-season game against the Athens-based club Panathinaikos. The game was called final, because the power was not restored in time and Toronto already had a 30-point lead.

Man, the NBA are a bunch of quitters. If NHL started cutting games short just because one team was ahead by 30, half of the Maple Leafs games played in the last decade wouldn’t have made it out of the second period.

Amalie Arena (Tampa Bay Lightning)
Following the PPV’s conclusion, newly crowned WWE champion John Cena announced the death of Osama Bin Laden which resulted in a big “USA!” chant and [the] internal public address system of the Arena then proceeded to play “Stars and Stripes Forever.”

This is the most American sentence that has ever been written about anything.

American Airlines Center (Dallas Stars)
On July 27, 2001, the facility opened with the largest ribbon-cutting ceremony ever, according to the Guinness Book of Records.

There had actually been a bigger ceremony held in Buffalo, but everyone decided to just ignore that and award the title to Dallas anyway.

BB&T Center (Florida Panthers)
The Dave Matthews Band – 2001 (There was a power interruption during the performance; they have not returned to the venue since.)

Oh, quit being such a baby, Dave Matthews. If it’s good enough for the Stanley Cup Final, it’s good enough for you.

Barclays Center (New York Islanders)
Business Insider has called sections 201 to 204 and 228 to 231, “the worst seat in American professional sports”. In an interview with Sports Illustrated, Barclays Center CEO Brett Yormark acknowledged the issue, but insisted nothing can be done: “There’s really nothing we’re going to do from a capital improvement standpoint. You can watch the game on your mobile device. The game is on the scoreboard.”

Unless you’re sitting in one of the sections where you can’t see the scoreboard. Or one of the other sections where you can’t see your mobile device. Then you’re pretty much screwed.

Bell Centre (Montreal Canadiens)
The most infamous event that took place at the arena was Survivor Series 1997, during which the well-known Montreal Screwjob incident occurred.

This is, of course, a reference to the Bret Hart incident, one in which the WWE outraged its loyal fans by shockingly parting ways with a talented and beloved superstar due to concerns about his contract and failure to get along with management.

Luckily, everyone learned a valuable lesson and nobody in Montreal has ever made that mistake again.

Bridgestone Arena (Nashville Predators)
The seating configuration is notable for the oddly-shaped south end.

The same could be said for some of their fans.

Canadian Tire Centre (Ottawa Senators)
A ground-breaking ceremony was held in June 1992 but actual construction did not start until July 7, 1994.

Sure, that seems like a long time. But in fairness, all the construction equipment left downtown Ottawa in June 1992, and that’s just how long it takes to get all the way out to the arena.

Consol Energy Center (Pittsburgh Penguins)
Grudge Match, a 2013 film, shot its climatic fight scene at the Consol Energy Center.

And did that fight scene feature the Penguins’ mascot getting roundhouse kicked into an industrial dishwasher by Jean-Claude Van Damme? No? Then the old arena was better.

First Niagara Center (Buffalo Sabres)
On Nov. 16, 1996, the arena’s first JumboTron, an eight-sided scoreboard made by Daktronics with Sony video screens, fell to the ice while it was being remotely moved. This was minutes after a few players ended practice and hours before a game between the Sabres and Bruins.

Is that good? That doesn’t sound good.


Nope, not especially good.

Gila River Arena (Arizona Coyotes)
Every home playoff game as in years past featured a “White Out,” continuing the tradition of years past in both Phoenix and Winnipeg playoff series of giving fans white T-shirts to wear for the games.

Whoa whoa whoa. Putting aside the question of whether the Coyotes were “continuing” the white out or just blatantly stealing it, let’s correct the record here: The tradition in Winnipeg doesn’t involve “giving fans white t-shirts.” Jets fans supply their own white, which is why the Winnipeg version of the white out has and always will be the best. Take shortcuts if you must, Arizona, but don’t go blaming your bad choices on Winnipeg.

Honda Center (Anaheim Ducks)
The arena itself (called only The Pond for legal reasons) was featured in the Mighty Ducks animated series, which revolved around a group of duck-esque aliens from the planet Puckworld landing on Earth, to continue their battles against the draconian Saurians, who had devastated Puckworld.

There’s a lot to unpack in that one sentence. By the way, the description of the TV show doesn’t end there, going on to describe the architecture of the cartoon arena before delving into a detailed analysis of the launch mechanics of the “Aerowing” spaceship. Then it just skips directly to a Barbara Streisand concert from 1994. Wikipedia, everyone!

Joe Louis Arena (Detroit Red Wings)
Joe Louis Arena hosted the 1994 U.S. Figure Skating Championships, best known for the pre-competition attack on Nancy Kerrigan by associates of Tonya Harding.

Where would the whole Harding/Kerrigan thing rank on the list of “sports stories that would have been amazing in the social media era”? I’m thinking behind the O.J. chase but slightly ahead of the 1987 World Junior Championships. We missed out on so many memes.

Today, we go nuts for crying basketball players and scowling swimmers; we could have had a field day with this stuff. There should be a rule where the internet gets to collectively pick one historical news story every year that we all get permission to react to as if it were happening in real-time. Jeff Gillooly and that one big dude in the windbreaker would eat Harambe’s lunch.

Madison Square Garden (New York Rangers)
Throughout its long history, Madison Square Garden has been involved in its share of historical events. These events have included famous political rallies and celebrations. Madison Square Gardens fastest sell out was made by Justin Bieber in 2012 with two sold out shows in just 30 seconds.

OK, technically this is cheating, since this line actually comes from the “Events at Madison Square Garden” sub-page. But I had to include it, because of how quickly the hubris just drains out of the paragraph. You can pretty much pinpoint the exact moment the whole passage breaks eye contact and just starts mumbling and hoping someone will change the subject.

MTS Centre (Winnipeg Jets)
As part of the transition to the NHL, the arena went through some minor renovations to bring it in line with the league’s standards, including construction of additional press boxes, shuttered lighting, flexible rink glass, and upgraded ice refrigeration system.

Officials also assured the NHL that the arena would also meet the league’s most important and non-negotiable quality standard: fans being able to watch the game on the scoreboard on their mobile device.

Nationwide Arena (Columbus Blue Jackets)
Nationwide Arena was built at the site of the former Ohio Penitentiary. Although believed to be built over the prison, the arena is actually built over the prison’s former parking lot. Nationwide’s parking lot and an apartment complex is built where the prison formerly stood. Many prisoners were executed at the prison, and a fire on April 21, 1930 killed 322 prisoners locked in their cells.

Huh. That paragraph took a hard turn at the end there.

Side note: I assumed I’d get to use this section as an opportunity to point out that the Blue Jackets’ goal cannon is the worst thing in the world. But despite being the arena’s best known feature, the cannon goes mysteriously unmentioned Wikipedia entry. I smell a cover up. What else are you hiding, Blue Jackets arena Wikipedia editors? WHAT ELSE?

(P.S. Seriously, Columbus, your cannon is the worst.)

Pepsi Center (Colorado Avalanche)
The arena is named for its chief corporate sponsor, PepsiCo.

Thanks for clearing that mystery up for us, Wikipedia.

PNC Arena (Carolina Hurricanes)
One Tree Hill location shoot for the season 4 episode, “Some You Give Away.” The Tree Hill Ravens were playing in the state championship game held at the arena.

If I know anything about the internet, this line originally gave away whether the Tree Hill Ravens won that game, somebody else freaked out about spoilers, and there was a massive flame war on the talk page that’s probably still going on to this day.

Prudential Center (New Jersey Devils)
Tampa Bay won, 4–2, with Lightning center Steven Stamkos scoring two goals in the contest: one on Friday and one on Sunday.

We know the defensive-minded Devils like to slow the action down, but that seems kinds of extreme. (This actually did happen, by the way; here’s the story behind this game.)

Rogers Arena (Vancouver Canucks)
November 7, 2002 – Riot when Axl Rose failed to show for Guns N’ Roses show.

Wait, Vancouver rioted over the new Guns N’ Roses lineup? I didn’t know anyone felt that strongly about seeing Buckethead. Does everything at this arena happen a full decade after it should have, or is that limited to rock concert riots and Jim Benning rebuilds?

Rogers Place (Edmonton Oilers)
Rogers Place was tied to a “hospitality explosion” even before ground was broken as operators were setting up their operations in anticipation of the new arena.

This isn’t an especially interesting passage, except that I originally misread it as referring to a “hospital explosion,” which still would have only been roughly the seventh worst thing associated with the Oilers over the last decade.

Scotiabank Saddledome (Calgary Flames)
Of 1,270 entries submitted in a contest to name the arena, 735 involved the word Saddle. The winning name in the contest, Olympic Saddledome, was drawn from a hat filled with several similar saddle-themed names. At the time the name received a tepid reception from some, including the chairman of Calgary’s Olympic Organizing Committee (OCO), Frank King, who was quoted as saying “It is neither Olympic nor western, and it’s not even dome”.

Kudos to Frank King for speaking truth to power about the Saddledome not actually being a dome, because that’s always bothered me and I thought I was alone.

On a side note, naming contests are rigged and always have been, according to 12-year-old me who still isn’t over them choosing “SkyDome” over the obviously far superior “CanaDome.”

SAP Center (San Jose Sharks)
Construction began in 1991. Soon after the NHL granted an expansion franchise to San Jose, it was discovered that the arena would not be suitable for NBA or NHL use as originally designed. The Sharks requested an upgrade to NHL standards, including the addition of luxury suites, a press box and increased seating capacity.

OK, sure, nobody’s perfect. But other than forgetting to include luxury suites, a press box, or seats, the original designers really knocked this one out of the park.

Scottrade Center (St. Louis Blues)
The entire concert section.

OK, admittedly this isn’t a specific “passage”, but it still needs to be mentioned. I can’t be sure, but I think someone has gone to the trouble of documenting literally every concert that has ever been held at the arena. It’s just four straight scrolling pages of detail, including all of the opening acts. I think the list includes every band I’ve ever heard of.
(Well, except for Guns N’ Roses. I wonder why they’ve never been invited to play at… oh, right. See Vancouver, that’s how it’s done.)

Staples Center (Los Angeles Kings)
In February 2013, PETA named Staples Center the most “vegetarian-friendly” arena in the NBA.

This is easily the least surprising line in this entire post.

T-Mobile Arena (Las Vegas TBDs)
A July 7 UFC 202 press conference was partially ruined by the arena’s acoustics and sound system, which left many questions unheard and unanswered.

Hey everyone, I think I figured out why Gary Bettman was so excited about putting a team in Las Vegas.

TD Garden (Boston Bruins)
The FleetCenter also made private arrangements with a few companies for one-day naming rights, and offered one day’s rights in an employee raffle… Kerry Konrad, a New York City lawyer and Yankees fan, won naming rights for March 1 with a bid of $2,300. He proposed the name “Derek Jeter Center”…

That is some fantastic trolling right there. Really hits to entire city right where it hurts. That would be like naming the rink in Buffalo “The Wide Right Arena,” or the rink in Chicago “The Steve Bartman Center,” or calling the rink in Edmonton “The Home of the Edmonton Oilers.”

United Center (Chicago Blackhawks)
It seats 19,717 (not including standing room) for hockey (highest attendance at a Blackhawks game was the clinching Game 6 of the 2015 Stanley Cup Finals against Tampa Bay with 22,424), 20,917 (not including standing room) for basketball (highest attendance at a Bulls game in 2012 was 23,028 vs. Miami) and up to 23,500 for concerts.

I think that sentence might use too many brackets (but I’m not sure) (but yeah, it does).

Verizon Center (Washington Capitals)
In August 2010, ESPN’s Outside the Lines segment reported that the Verizon Center was one of only two major sports arenas in the U.S., and the only in the NBA/NHL, in which 100 per cent of food vendors were found with at least one “critical or major” health code violation. Violations included mice droppings in at least ten different vending locations.

I’m guessing we can all agree that it’s the “at least” that’s the most concerning part here. Apparently mouse droppings are like Capitals’ playoff collapses – once you get to double digits you just start to lose track.

Wells Fargo Center (Philadelphia Flyers)
On August 13, 1996, a private concert by Ray Charles was the first event at the Wells Fargo Center, with a crowd of nearly 12,000. Each spectator was given a commemorative key acknowledging they helped “open the arena.”

The second event ever held at Wells Fargo Center: Ray Charles getting pelted with 12,000 keys.

Xcel Energy Center (Minnesota Wild)
60 per cent of all waste is recycled

As per league bylaws, the remaining 40 per cent goes directly the Wild’s salary cap.

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