Met Sports Center (demolished) - Bloomington, Minnesota
Ballparks, Arenas and Stadiums > Met Sports Center (demolished) - Bloomington, Minnesota
MUSIC - the way you look tonight by Ric Ocasek

Photographed in 1987 and 2000 using film.

Met Sports Center - Opened in 1967 and demolished in 1994. Site is now an IKEA store. Known as Metropolitan Sports Center 1967 - 1982, Met Center 1982 - 1994.

Location - 7901 Cedar Ave. South Bloomington, Minnesota.

Met Center - The address of the simple white rectangular building was 7901 Cedar Avenue S, Bloomington Minnesota. All you had to tell Minnesotans was, "meet me at the Met center." The Met center was about 10 miles south of downtown Minneapolis in the suburb of Bloomington. The Metropolitan sports center was born in 1967 as were the newest team in the NHL, the Minnesota North Stars. They called it home for the next 26 seasons. Fans would flock to the Met in the frigid cold winter to watch their beloved North Stars play. For the first 15 years, the arena was known by the long name of Metropolitan sports center. In 1982, the name was shortened to the Met center, the name it retained until its untimely death in 1994.

The Met center was one of the finest hockey facilities in the United States. The ice surface was always considered one of the best in the NHL. What drove the North Stars out of town was a lack of revenue in the form of luxury suites and other amenities. It was also known for great locker rooms, training facilities and lighting. It was NOT as fan friendly (AKA wide concourses) as some of the other arenas in the league. Many visiting players sang the praises of the old Met. Sadly, after the North Stars flew south to Dallas, pro hockey ceased to exist in the Met.

The North Stars inaugural game at the Met took place on October 21, 1967, against the also new California Seals. The teams battled to a 3-3 tie in that first home game. Tragedy would strike the Met and the North Stars that same season. On January 13, 1968, forward Bill Masterson suffered a fatal hit in a game against the same California Seals. Four minutes into that fateful game, Masterson was checked by Seals players Larry Cahan and Ron Harris. He fell backwards, his head hitting the ice. Teammates rushed to his side as blood gushed from his nose and mouth. He murmured the words "never again, never again." Those would be the last words he would speak. He was rushed to the hospital with a massive brain hemorrhage injury. The injury was so severe that doctors were unable to perform surgery. Masterson died two days later without ever regaining consciousness. Masterson was not wearing a helmet. There was no rule regarding wearing helmets in the NHL until 1979, a full 12 years after the Masterson tragedy. The North Stars never issued Masterson's number 19 to any other player after his passing. Finally in 1987, the North Stars retired his number to the rafters. The NHL has the Bill Masterson award issued every year for dedication, sportsmanship and perseverance. Ironically, Masterson scored the first ever goal for the North Stars on October 15, 1967, against .... the same California Seals.

The North Stars had an up and down success rate in Minnesota. Their first trip to the Stanley Cup finals was in the 1980-1981 season. They lost the finals in 5 games to the New York Islanders. It would be 10 years before they would be back. Despite a losing record during the regular season, the Stars caught fire and raced thru the playoffs to reach the finals. They would play 6 grueling games before losing the cup to the Mario Lemieux led Pittsburgh Penguins. That would be the last hurrah for the Stars. Due to the usual ownership garbage, the team abandoned the Twin Cities and the Met Center after the 1992-1993 season.

The North Stars were not the only tenant of the Met center. They were the most consistent one though. After the Minneapolis Lakers left for Los Angeles in 1960, basketball would return in the form of the old upstart ABA. The Minnesota Muskies were in the inaugural 1967-1968 season of the ABA and made the Met center home. They moved to Miami in 1968 to become the Floridians. The following season the ABA came back to Minnesota in the form of the Minnesota Pipers. Like their brethren Muskies, the Pipers lasted only one season at the Met center. The Piperes were in Pittsburgh for the 67-68 season before moving to Minnesota. After that disaster of a season in Minnesota, the team flew back to Pittsburgh to become the Condors. The Condors folded after the 1972 season. Thus ending basketball in Minnesota until the Timberwolves came along in 1989.
The Minnesota Strikers of the old MISL also called the Met center home from 1984 thru 1988.

The Met center sat vacant of a pro team for about a year. Finally in 1994, the old building was imploded, err they tried to implode it. Three separate attempts were made to bring the building down with explosives. She was a stubborn old girl, and finally had to be brought down the old fashioned way. The site sat vacant for years. Now an IKEA store sits on the site, part of the phase II of the Mall of America. Ironically, the old Metropolitan stadium (the home of the Twins and Vikings) was demolished in 1985 to make room for the mega Mall of America.

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The Met Center site in 2000, soon an IKEA would be built here.


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Looking south from the Met Center in 1987, at the site of old Metropolitan Stadium.


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The retired number of Bill Masterson, the only player to die in a hockey game.


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