Here Are The Names Suggested by Readers for Red Wings' New Home
After Sports Business Journal reported Monday that the Red Wings have hired a team of architects to design a new hockey arena, Deadline Detroit asked readers to suggest names.
The stakes are high. Joe Louis Arena is a very unique name. In fact, it's the only venue in the National Hockey League named after a human being. The other arenas are the namesakes of banks, airlines and telephone companies.
Reader responses ranged from the ridiculous – Mickey Shorr Hockey Complex – to the sublime – Octopus Garden.
In between were some good names, bad names and predictable names.
Among them: Stevie Y Arena, Gordie Howe Skateland, Brandon Inge Memorial Coliseum, Olympia, New Olympia and Hazen Pingree Arena, after the famous Detroit mayor of the 1890s. (It was suggested by someone named Hazen.)
Mickey Shorr was a famous Detroit deejay of the 1950s and ‘60s who branched off into mobile electronics. His name was suggested by a reader named David Shorr, of Winnipeg, Manitoba.
Octopus Garden, a poetic play on the Beatles’ song and the weird Detroit hockey tradition, was suggested by Larry Parrott of Birmingam.
And none of them, most likely, will be chosen by the person who counts, Red Wings’ owner Mike Ilitch.
One name, though, came with more than emotion behind it, and the person who suggested it believes it has an inside track in Mr. I’s heart.
That name is Amway Arena.
“Bank on this,” messaged Bill Shea, a reporter at Crain’s Detroit Business.
In September, Shea wrote a story for Crain’s that said a multi-million dollar sponsorship arrangement between Amway and the Wings could be a precursor to an arena deal. Shea wrote that the Wings, realizing public financing will be difficult to obtain in this era of state and city budget constraints, need to turn to private investors.
Amway’s founding families are heavily into sports and arenas, including the Amway Center in Orlando, home of the Magic, owned by Richard DeVos.
This is also an era of lucrative naming rights, and monikers like Amway Center are the rule. Many venues across the country carry corporate names. Joe Louis Arena, the only NHL venue named after a person, was Christened by Mayor Coleman Young in the late 1970s as construction on the city-financed arena was underway.
One person suggested Little Caesars Arena! Arena!
That’s kind of clever, but Ilitch is not likely to pass up revenue from an outsider for the naming rights.
Once upon a time, before the concept of naming rights was invented, sports centers were named after people, places, teams and locations with classic allusions such as forums, gardens and olympias.
In Detroit, Bennett Park, the original home of the Tigers, was the namesake of a beloved catcher who fell under a train and lost his legs. And its successors, Navin Field and Briggs Stadium, named after owners, eventually became Tiger Stadium.
Comerica, as in the park, was the result of corporate alchemy.
The stadium was named after Comerica Bank, which paid for the right to have its name up in lights and all the free advertising that comes with that.
Comerica Bank’s corporate ancestors go back to 1849, but the name Comerica was created by a “corporate identity specialist” in 1982, when Comerica’s predecessor, Detroit Bank and Trust, was planning to expand beyond the Motor City and needed a less provincial name.
The corporate identity specialist spawned Comerica from “cooperation” and “America.”
Perhaps the name for the new Joe Louis Arena hasn’t been invented yet.