Almost every NHL team has had a new building since the Saddledome opened
Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
By Ryan Pike3 months ago
After the multi-party announcement of a new Calgary arena deal, and the provincial election results that all-but-confirmed the deal, many in the hockey world are breathing a sigh of relief. The Calgary Flames have been playing out of the building originally known as the Olympic Saddledome since 1983.
Since the Saddledome first opened its doors, 36 newer buildings have opened throughout the league and regularly hosted NHL games.
And yeah, we made a list.
|1993-94||Florida||Miami Arena||opened in 1988|
|1993-94||Tampa Bay||Thunderdome||opened in 1990; was a baseball stadium|
|1993-94||Anaheim||Honda Center||opened as Arrowhead Pond|
|1993-94||San Jose||SAP Center||opened as San Jose Arena|
|1994-95||St. Louis||Enterprise Center||opened as Kiel Center|
|1995-96||Vancouver||Rogers Arena||opened as General Motors Place|
|1995-96||Ottawa||Canadian Tire Centre||opened as the Palladium; debut game was midway through 1995-96 season|
|1995-96||Montreal||Bell Centre||debut game was late in 1995-96 season|
|1996-97||Phoenix||America West Arena||opened in 1992|
|1996-97||Tampa Bay ||Amalie Arena||opened as the Ice Palace|
|1996-97||Buffalo||KeyBank Center||opened as Marine Midland Arena|
|1996-97||Philadelphia||Wells Fargo Center||opened as CoreStates Center|
|1997-98||Washington||Capital One Arena||opened as MCI Center|
|1998-99||Nashville||Bridgestone Arena||opened in 1996 as Nashville Arena|
|1998-99||Florida ||FLA Live Arena||opened as National Car Rental Center|
|1998-99||Toronto||Scotiabank Arena||opened as Air Canada Centre; debut game was midway through 1998-99 season|
|1999-00||Colorado||Ball Arena||opened as Pepsi Center|
|1999-00||Los Angeles||Crypto.com Arena||opened as Staples Center|
|1999-00||Carolina||PNC Arena||opened as Raleigh Entertainment & Sports Arena|
|2000-01||Minnesota||Xcel Energy Center||—|
|2001-02||Dallas||American Airlines Center||—|
|2003-04||Phoenix ||Gila River Arena||opened as Glendale Arena|
|2007-08||New Jersey||Prudential Center||—|
|2010-11||Pittsburgh||PPG Paints Arena||opened as Consol Energy Center|
|2011-12||Winnipeg ||Canada Life Centre||opened in 2004 as MTS Centre|
|2015-16||NY Islanders||Barclays Center||opened in 2012|
|2017-18||Vegas||T-Mobile Arena||opened in 2016|
|2017-18||Detroit||Little Caesars Arena||—|
|2021-22||NY Islanders ||UBS Arena||—|
|2021-22||Seattle||Climate Pledge Arena||massive renovation of former Key Arena|
|2022-23||Arizona ||Mullett Arena||—|
Since the Saddledome opened in 1983, every NHL team except for the New York Rangers has played regular in a newer building than the ‘Dome. And the Rangers have conducted extensive, expensive renovations to Madison Square Garden – not quite as extensive as the ones that turned Key Arena into basically a brand-new building in Seattle, but extensive enough to not make it feel like a building that opened in 1968.
Heck, a few of teams (Arizona, Florida, Tampa, Islanders, Atlanta/Winnipeg) have played in multiple newer buildings than the Saddledome, which drives that number up north of the amount of NHL franchises that exist now. (And let’s give a shout out to Tampa, who have played out of the Thunderdome and the Ice Palace, two amazingly-named buildings.)
Now, a good chunk of the 36 newer buildings were new builds for expansion teams: a full dozen of them were buildings that were built in anticipation of (or as part of) an expansion process – or a relocation process, in the case of the Hurricanes. Two more buildings already existed when Winnipeg moved to Phoenix and Atlanta moved to Winnipeg. But that means 22 buildings were built to give existing NHL teams newer digs.
Finally, you can kinda see the patterns of development throughout the league. From 1993 and 2000, most of the league got fancy new buildings. And based on a 30-35 year lifespan for buildings, it feels likely that we’ll start seeing either massive renovations in the early ’90s builds to bring them up to current standards… or the beginning of another wave of arena development throughout the league.
But if nothing else, at least the decades-long arena saga in Calgary seems close to a resolution.
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