Chris McCosky has a piece in the Detroit News today about the possibility of the Red Wings and Pistons sharing an arena soon.
There’s a lot of “sources say” and no direct quotes from anyone involved but there is one bit of information that applies to the immediate future of the Red Wings.
Mike and Marian Ilitch, owners of the Red Wings, have not renewed their lease at Joe Louis Arena beyond this season, and face more than $10 million in structural repair at the dilapidated arena this summer if the team is to play there next season.
Going back to the Joe, it seems, is a last resort. So the Ilitches have been looking for a temporary home while they sort out, if, when, where and how they might build a new arena in downtown Detroit.
The Wings and Palace Sports and Entertainment, overseers of The Palace, have been working on a lease agreement for over a year. The Ilitches toured The Palace in December 2008. The Palace submitted a five-year lease offer to the Ilitches, who made a counteroffer — presumably for fewer years.
The Palace is still sitting on that counteroffer.
In Michigan’s current economic climate, Mike Ilitch is not going to get the state funding he’s looking for to help him build the long-rumored Foxtown arena. As such, he doesn’t have a lot of immediate options. The Red Wings can stay at the Joe, with Ilitch springing for $10 million in renovations, or hey can move to another local stadium. The time is not right to build a new arena.
The Wings organization has publically admitted as much, with Jimmy Devellano going on the record in saying that the Wings need a new arena in five to ten years – not right now.
I don’t like the idea of the Red Wings having to share their arena. One of the reasons the ice at Joe Louis Arena is so good is because a basketball court doesn’t get laid over it every other night.
That said, lack of JLA lease talk and lack of new arena talk have me relatively convinced that the next home of the Red Wings – if not the next two homes – will be shared with the Pistons.