Music - On fire by Van Halen
Photographed in 1987 using film.
St. Paul Civic Center Arena opened in 1973, closed in 1998 and was demolished that same year. The Xcel Energy Center Arena was built on the site.
The arena was opened on January 1, 1973, with a hockey game between the Minnesota Fighting Saints and the Houston Aeros. The game ended in a 4-4 tie. It was the home for both versions of the Minnesota Fighting Saints of the WHA. The WHA was a lot like the old ABA. Teams folded in the middle of the night. The first Saints were no exception. They went out of sight on February 28, 1976, in the middle of the WHA season. Their final game was on February 25th and ended in a 2-1 loss to the San Diego Mariners.
After the NHL California Golden Seals moved to Cleveland in 1976, the WHA Cleveland Crusaders moved west to St. Paul and became the "NEW" Fighting Saints. They lasted until their final game on January 14, 1977, this time a 9-5 win over the Indianapolis Racers. Like the first Saints, the team folded midway thru the 1977 season.
One of the unique features of the Civic Center were its clear acrylic dasher side boards for hockey. They were in use until 1994 when the Minnesota Moose of the IHL replaced the clear with standard white dasher boards. The Moose played in the Civic Center for two years before moving up to Winnipeg Manitoba. During the mid 90's the Civic Center was renamed the RiverCentre, a name which it retained until it was demolished in 1998. The new Xcel Energy Center sits on the same site as the old Civic Center. The Xcel center is home to the NHL Minnesota Wild.
Minnesotan's love their hockey, and the Met center was one of the best places to watch a game. Unfortunately, due to the lack of luxury suites, the arena was doomed. I was lucky enough to catch a game at the arena in 1987, and thought the building was great. Every seat has a good view of the ice. In this modern day, money talks, this time in the form of the luxury suites. Old buildings die a tragic death, while the new ones prosper. Give me the old ones any day.
Location - 143 W. 5th St. St. Paul, Minnesota
Demolition of the old Civic Center Arena.
The Xcel Energy Center was built on the site of the old arena.