Hockeytown, Windsor say goodbye to the Joe

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Hockeytown, Windsor say goodbye to the Joe

A sea of fans in red and white jerseys stood outside of the Joe Louis Arena, waiting to catch a glimpse of their favourite player before the final hockey game in the arena.

The Joe Louis Arena, nicknamed the Joe, has been a staple for Detroit hockey since 1979. The Red Wings have won four Stanley Cup Championships while calling the arena its home. The team had a 25-year streak of making the playoffs, until this year, but that didn't seem to bother their fans too much during the celebrations.

George Wood has been a fan since he was five. He didn't wear a Red Wings jersey for the event, rather a Hartford Whalers one.

"Well the Whalers, that's where Gordie Howe played with his sons," Wood said. "So we've got the Whalers shirts from Mark and Marty and Gordie. So it's the team. We're together."

He added that spending this weekend celebrating the Joe with his sons will be his favourite memory. Wood plans on going to the new arena, but will miss games at the Joe Louis Arena.

"We're heartbroken," he said. "We love this arena. This is an arena you came to see hockey, not to go to a party. This is where hockey happens and that's why we're here."

Not everyone at the red carpet event had a ticket to see the final game. Prices on Stubhub.com were going from between $250 and $9,999.

But fans were able to wait at a red carpet to see their favourite players step into the arena one last time. No former player got as many cheers and screams from the crowd as the team's longtime coach Scotty Bowman.

Fans from Windsor also came over to see the final game. Janis Stammler celebrated the farewell to the Joe on her 43rd birthday. She remembers many nights spent at the arena.

"My first concert. My first hockey game. Multiple hockey games and so many memories at the Joe. Climbing the stairs. I'm not going to miss the stairs, but I'll miss the stairs," Stammler said.

She fought back tears while talking about what the arena meant to her. Stammler put it simply, "We're hockey fans. I'm Canadian. This is the Joe. We're going to miss it."