Terry Foster of the Detroit News reports on the unveling of the Gordie Howe statue at Joe Louis Arena. It is a very detailed statue, as the picture above the article shows. It took the artist, Omri Amrany, five months to complete. But Foster argues that this statue is hardly enough. He suggests, gets darn near close to demanding, that if the Ilitches are to build a new arena (which Ilitch apparently admitted to), they should name it after Howe.
I think that Foster has a good point. We’ve all heard the rumors of a new arena for some time now. Sarah and I have fretted over what the name would be. Would we sell out and end up with a corporate name? The name Joe Louis Arena was so unique, and we were very proud of that. The Wings did not sell out. But with the way things are going, it just seemed the most likely. So the idea of naming a new arena after Gordie Howe is quite appealing. If any hockey player deserves such recognition, it is Gordie Howe. He basically turned Detroit into Hockeytown, though the name wasn’t established until decades later. He is the reason the Wings have one of the largest, most dedicated fanbases in the league. He turned fanship into something that was passed down through the generations here in Michigan.
Howe, true to character, said the statue was enough. If anything, they should name the arena Ilitch Arena. Howe has a point as well. Mike and Marian Ilitch took a franchise that had been driven into the ground and turned them into the powerhouse we know now. They took the Dead Things and turned them into a dynasty. Ilitch is already in the Hall of Fame as one of the best owners the league has seen. The reason the Wings have stayed on top for all these years is largely because of the commitment the Ilitches have to the Wings and to winning.
So which one? Either would work. Both are very deserving. Personally, I would go with the Gordie Howe Arena. Every time a team visted, they would be reminded of the long, rich history of the team. As much as I respect Gordie Howe, he’s wrong. I don’t think it will ever be enough.
As long as Ilitch doesn’t sell out and end up with an arena named after some airline or whatever, I’ll be happy.