Saturday, September 18, 2010

Memorialize the Mellon Arena

As you guys know, I'm a Pittsburgher by birth. It pained me to not be able to make it to a final game at Mellon Arena/Civic Arena/Igloo, the old home of the Penguins immortalized in the fantastic movie Sudden Death, before it was closed last season. While everything I've seen about Consol Energy Center, the Penguins new home is nothing but a major up grade and it looks glorious. It's made the Civic Arena not long for this world.

I'd had some fun times at the Arena, only getting up to Pittsburgh a handful of times once my interest in hockey really peaked. Off the top of my head I made it to four games in all which I don't think is too bad considering I was coming from Charleston, SC. From my first trip, a few games after Mario's return to hockey on Martin Luther King Day when I saw Mario, Jagr, Alexei Kovalev, Robert Lang, Martin Straka and company beat Teemu Selanne, Paul Kariya and the Mighty Ducks. The 7-2 drubbing of the Philadelphia Flyers that saw Marty Straka leave with a pulled hamstring. The 2-1 beating by the Boston Bruins where Evgeni Malkin picked the upper right corner of the net, finding an opening no bigger than the puck itself and a fantastic diving save by Ty Conklin. Finally the 6-3 beating of the Edmonton Oilers which seemed anti climatic as a 6-0 lead quickly faded and made the game a little too close.

The memories at Mellon of others out there are many and mean just as much. The best have played there, be it musically (The Beatles, The Who, many more) or sports (Mario Lemieux, Jaromir Jagr, Ron Francis, Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin). There are memorials to Forbes Field, long time home of the Pittsburgh Pirates, in the remains of the wall that Bill Mazeroski launched his Game 7 winning home run to end the 1960 World Series. It stands in the middle of the Pitt campus.

The home plate for Forbes Field lies within Poszar Hall within the campus as well, encased in glass for all to see and stand by.

The closest there are to memorials to former Three Rivers Stadium, home of the Pirates and Steelers, is the Roberto Clemente statue which resides around PNC Park that used to be next to Three Rivers.

A plaque also stands near where it once stood.

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While I'm fine with the Igloo no longer being among the living in the architecture community, there needs to be a memorial. After Pittsburgh officials recently voted (correctly) to raze the Arena, a fantastic proposal was put forth on Twitter.

Twitter user PensBoozeAnger, aka Matt, proposed that the glass inside of Consol that over looks the Igloo be etched with the outline of the arena before it's taken down. That side of the arena faces what would essentially be road ways, some apartments, and a bridge in the far distance. No sight lines would be ruined by the literal and figurative ghost of Mellon being imposed on the glass from this view.

I'm encouraging all my readers, even ones who aren't a hockey fan and who could care less otherwise, to join the Facebook group created to drum up support for the etching of the Igloo to memorialize the home of the Pittsburgh Penguins to keep around the memories of three champions and the greats since 1962.

It's reached local media in Pittsburgh in the form of WXDX-FM's Mark Madden, who is known to have some connections to the Penguins. I'd love to help, in any little way, making this reach a bigger audience throughout the nation. So please, once again, join the Memorialize the Mellon Arena Facebook group and do what you can to help keep a piece of history alive in some way.

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