Tag: Consol Energy Center


Jaromir Jagr’s “brain doesn’t understand” the Pittsburgh hate


Jaromir Jagr’s return to the NHL has been as glorious as anyone could have expected. He’s playing outstanding hockey alongside Claude Giroux, generally loving life as an unlikely member of the Philadelphia Flyers and the 39-year-old veteran is providing great quotes when he’s off the ice.

Just about everyone is happy for the future Hall of Famer … everyone except fans from the city where he built much of that staggering resume, that is. Jagr knows what he’s in for as the Flyers visit the Pittsburgh Penguins tomorrow night, but as he told Anthony J. Sanfilippo, he’s not entirely sure why he’ll receive such an angry greeting.

“How, in a situation like that, can there be so much bad attitude and anger from those people? I don’t get it.” Jagr said. “What kind of world are we in right now? That’s (bleeping) scary. We should be in a world with a lot of love. Instead there’s one guy, who is 40 years old, who is almost done, and he’s causing all that (animosity) over hockey? My brain just doesn’t understand that.”

I’ll be honest: my brain doesn’t really understand it, either. Jagr does a fine job of explaining the rather hilarious love-hate-love-really-hate relationship in Pittsburgh.

“When I left Pittsburgh I was traded,” Jagr said. “The first time I came back with Washington everybody booed me so bad. But I was traded. I didn’t leave. But they are going to hate me anyway. They’ve hated me for seven years. Then, when there is a chance that I am going to go back there, all of the sudden they switch for one or two months? Then I don’t go, and they go back to hating me, but even more than before. I don’t get it. I don’t know what kind of world we’re living in. I don’t get it.”

Jilted lovers

The Pittsburgh hate seems a little misguided, but nostalgia can be an intoxicating feeling. In a way, Penguins fans looked back at their time with Jagr like one would look at an up-and-down relationship; you tend to gloss over the painful dates in favor of those rare long walks on the beach.

When Jagr signed with the Flyers, it was like that same ex cheating on them again.

Whether it makes sense or not, Jagr’s first trip to the Consol Energy Center will seem a lot like his previous visits to the Igloo: full of boos. Don’t blame Jagr if he bares a wistful grin or two, though.

Report: 2012 NHL Draft is coming to Pittsburgh

The Igloo, CONSOL Energy Center
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With the Winter Classic stuff out of the way for the NHL to be poorly secretive over, their next badly kept secret is about to be let out of the bag.

Rob Rossi of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports that the NHL will announce on Thursday that the 2012 NHL Draft will be in Pittsburgh. After the draft had been out west the last two year in Los Angeles and Minnesota, it was time for the big event to come back east and with a brand new facility like the CONSOL Energy Center to show off in Pittsburgh, it made too much sense to go there.

With the Winter Classic in Philadelphia and now the draft set to be in Pittsburgh, maybe we can find NHL events for other cities in Pennsylvania as well. I hear Harrisburg needs money, maybe we can get them something too. Maybe a little something in Allentown or Hershey or Wilkes-Barre while we’re at it. NBC’s The Office is set in Scranton – I’m smelling crossover potential here.

Goodbye to the Igloo? Pittsburgh Civic Arena set to be demolished on Monday

The Igloo, CONSOL Energy Center
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For decades in Pittsburgh, “The Igloo” was the iconic home of the Pittsburgh Penguins. Known less so by its proper name, Pittsburgh Civic Arena, the legendary building has been in danger ever since the Penguins’ new home, CONSOL Energy Center, was built.

With CONSOL being across the street from The Igloo and parking at a premium, The Igloo has been in danger of being torn down to make room for new new office buildings and living space. Fans have been doing their part for the last year to try and find a way to save The Igloo, but their efforts may have finally come to an end.

People in Pittsburgh have been trying to file a federal appeal to get the demolition of The Igloo stopped, but a federal appeals court has refused to hear the appeal thus paving the way for the legendary building to be knocked down.

The decision gives the city-Allegheny County Sports & Exhibition Authority, the Igloo’s owner, the go-ahead to start the demolition of the 50-year-old landmark Monday morning.

“It’s just a sad day. I think a lot of people are going to miss this building,” said Scott Leib, president of Preservation Pittsburgh.

Preservation Pittsburgh sought an emergency injunction before the circuit court after U.S. District Judge David S. Cercone threw out the group’s lawsuit aimed at blocking the razing.

It argued that the redevelopment of the arena’s 28-acre Hill District site would require federal highway funds and therefore a federal review of the plan to demolish the historic building.

But Judge Cercone said the group failed to convince him that there would be any federal involvement in the project and that he lacked jurisdiction to halt the work.

It’s a sad day for fans of both Penguins fans and appreciators of Jean-Claude Van Damme movies to see The Igloo meet this demise. While the building itself was one of the most unique in the league and in the country (the roof was once retractable and made to be a major concert venue), its unique traits aren’t enough to keep it around in Pittsburgh.

It’ll be sad to see The Igloo go because it was the home of such legendary Penguins teams. From the team’s early days in the late 1960s on through to Mario Lemieux and Sidney Crosby. We’ll remember The Igloo for all the great games and teams that it hosted and bid it a fond farewell when it’s time for it to finally come down.

‘Furry’ rumors: Rescheduled event leads some to think 2012 NHL Entry Draft will be in Pittsburgh


While we like to think that a sports arenas’ one and only goal is to house our favorite teams, those venues also make their money by attracting all kinds of other performers. Sometimes that calls for scheduling conflicts – one could see that situation most obviously when many were concerned that the Chicago Bulls’ playoff run would clash with the galactic extravaganza that was Oprah’s finale.

Thanks to their post-lockout rejuvenation, the Pittsburgh Penguins aren’t oblivious to such situations. A Yanni concert forced some scheduling difficulties during their 2009 playoff series with the Washington Capitals, something that generated meme-fuel around the Internet.

While the latest situation is still in the “pure gossip” stage, Ryan Kennedy of The Hockey News unearthed some rather,um, “Furry” evidence that the 2012 NHL Entry Draft might take place at the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh.

While NHL mascots don’t usually attend the draft, Anthrocon, ironically, is for people who enjoy dressing up in mascot-style costumes, emulating animals. Anthrocon has already announced that their annual convention in Pittsburgh has been moved up a week thanks to amicable negotiations with the city. (The move is also reflected on the convention center’s website.)

A post on the Anthrocon website states the group was approached by the city with the scheduling request due to a “very rare opportunity to host an event that they have been wanting to host for many years.”

When contacted by the The Hockey News, a representative from the NHL said in an email: “We have nothing to report on the 2012 Draft other than Pittsburgh was a bid market.”

If you aren’t a regular viewer of the HBO show “Entourage,” you might not know what a “Furry” is. Let’s just say it’s a niche … activity that – you know what, I’ll give you the description from Anthrocon themselves and allow you to put the pieces together.

Anthropomorphic or “humanized” animals have been with us since the dawn of civilization. From the gods of ancient Egypt to the advertising icons of the modern day, people of every culture have created fanciful creatures simply by imbuing animals with human traits. Only within the last two decades has anthropomorphic or “Furry” fandom been recognized as a distinct fan-base in its own right. Fans are found in all corners of the world, and come from all races and ages and creeds. We are bound together across the most daunting barriers by our mutual admiration for these beasts of myth and legend who, by simple reflection, give us a better window into ourselves.

Hey, to each his or her own – as long as you don’t hurt each other. Heck, when it comes to hockey, that last part is obviously negotiable. (Note: this isn’t to say that anyone who attends that convention will do anything more than dress up as an animal, by the way. Let’s just move on.)

Anyway, the event being rescheduled doesn’t guarantee anything other than the fact that some dedicated people will have one less week to put together their costumes. It might be some time before the NHL announces the official location of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, whether it’s in Pittsburgh or not. We’ll pass along updates, especially when they’re a bit less fuzzy.

(H/T to George Malik.)

Arguing against publicly funded arenas

New York Islanders Fan Rally With Performance By Blue Oyster Cult

Perhaps this might not be the case for New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils fans,* but most hockey fans probably feel a bit bad for New York Islanders fans right now. A lot can change between now and 2015 – when the team’s lease with the decrepit Nassau Coliseum finally expires – but engineering voting on a low turnout day still couldn’t nab public funding for Charles Wang’s new arena referendum. There have been a variety of escape routes discussed around the Internet, but the outlook appears to be pretty bleak for the Islanders’ chances of staying in Long Island.

That’s a shame, but the lukewarm response indicates that the Islanders aren’t important to enough people. That’s not to say that they are without hardcore fans and people nostalgic for the days of Mike Bossy, Bryan Trottier and Billy Smith. It’s just to say that memories haven’t been enough to gloss over a long span of losing and limited hope for significant change.

That being said, Arctic Ice Hockey makes a strong argument against public funding for arenas even if the Islanders did hold a stronger place in the heart of fans in the region. Let’s take a look at the four-point argument against public funding for arenas.

1. Economic studies show that the impact is minimal

The economic impact of sports teams on an area ranks as one of those arguments that are too complicated for sports writers. That’s why the author points to two studies (here and here) to back up that point. I don’t think many would argue that there is no impact at all, but those studies point to the fact that the benefits probably don’t outweigh the drawbacks in most (if not all) cases.

2. If it was a good investment to increase property value, owners would want to use all their own money.

The second one also rolls into Point 1: if building an arena in an area would make that area flourish so much, they wouldn’t a deep-pocketed businessman (like that team’s owner) want to jump on the opportunity?

3. Subsidies reward poor financial management

The funny thing about publicly funded arenas is that you don’t exactly see those lucky owners giving money back to the taxpayers. Maybe there are plans in which some kickback does take place (and not just based on the hypothetical increase in property values) but when owners don’t have to fork over their own money, one of their biggest costs is taken away. That allows them to continue to make the mistakes that probably got them in that predicament in the first place: spending their money on the wrong players or giving good players too much money.

4. If a team can’t survive in a market, it shouldn’t be there.

One other bitter pill to swallow in that failed referendum on Monday was the tepid turnout (and the fact that it was designed to take advantage of lower voting numbers). If you’re confident that a market couldn’t stand the idea of losing its team, wouldn’t you call on a vote at the busiest time possible?

Nassau Coliseum has been derided for its condition, but the bottom line is that sports fans will sit in uncomfortable seats (often with bad sight lines) if it means they get the chance to root for a good team. Maybe a new arena would help them earn more money from the tickets they sell, but the tenor of the arguments would be about maximizing profits rather than mere survival if the Islanders were a contender.


Ultimately, these arena deals often come down to leverage. Jerry Jones received plenty of help in building his absurd stadium because Arlington wanted to attract the Dallas Cowboys. The Pittsburgh Penguins got Consol Energy built because of Sidney Crosby and their image as a rising team. It would be a shame if the Islanders relocate, but right now, not enough people care to make something happen. That’s the sad bottom line.

* – Unless they’re worried that their teams won’t get to beat up on them anymore.