Mellon Arena


Mellon Arena

Infobox Stadium
stadium_name = Mellon Arena
nickname = The Igloo


fullname =
location = 66 Mario Lemieux Place, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15219-3504
coordinates =
broke_ground = March 12, 1957
built =
opened = September 19, 1961
renovated =
expanded =
closed =
demolished =
owner = City of Pittsburgh
operator =
surface = Ice Parquet/AstroTurf
construction_cost = $22 million (USD)
architect = Mitchell and Ritchey
structural engineer =
services engineer =
general_contractor =
project_manager =
main_contractors =
former_names = Pittsburgh Civic Arena (1961–1999)
tenants = Present:
Pittsburgh Penguins (NHL) (1967-present)
Pittsburgh Xplosion (CBA) (2005-present)
Former:
Pittsburgh Rens (American Basketball League) (1961–63)
Pittsburgh Hornets (AHL) (1961–1967)
Pittsburgh Pipers/Condors (ABA) (1967–1973)
Pittsburgh Triangles (World TeamTennis) (1974–76)
Pittsburgh Spirit (MISL) (1978–1980; 1981–1986)
Pittsburgh Gladiators (AFL) (1987–1990)
Pittsburgh Bulls (MILL) (1990–93)
Pittsburgh Phantoms (RHI) (1994)
Pittsburgh Stingers (CISL) (1994–95)
Pittsburgh Piranhas (CBA) (1994-1995)
Pittsburgh CrosseFire (NLL) (2000)
seating_capacity = 16,958 (hockey)
17,132 (hockey standing room)
17,537 (basketball)
15,924 (arena football)
15,788 (circus)
16,882 (ice skating)
17,740 (concert end stage)
18,039 (concert center stage)
18,150 (wrestling)
dimensions =
scoreboard =
The Mellon Arena (known as Pittsburgh Civic Arena from 1961–1999cite web |title=The History of Mellon Arena |publisher=Mellon Arena |url=http://www.mellonarena.com/arena/ana_history.asp |accessdate=2006-12-30 ] and informally known as "The Igloo") is an indoor arena in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It is home to the Pittsburgh Penguins of the National Hockey League and was formerly home to the Pittsburgh Hornets of the AHL; the Pittsburgh Rens of the ABL; the Pittsburgh Pipers and Pittsburgh Condors of the ABA; Pittsburgh CrosseFire of the NLL; and Pittsburgh Spirit of the MISL (among others). The arena seats 16,958 for ice hockey (17,132 at standing room capacity) and features 56 luxury suites and 1,696 club seats. John Barbaro is the arena's public address announcer, a position he has held since the 1970s.

History

Pittsburgh Civic Arena, as it was originally known, was completed in 1961 at a cost of $22 million, which makes it the oldest arena in use in the NHL. Oddly enough, the arena was not originally intended for sports, but instead as to host the Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera, which had previously performed at Pitt Stadium but grew tired of having performances rained out. The building was—and remains—unique, and well ahead of its time at the time of construction. It was built with a retractable dome made of six stainless steel arched panels, five of which could roll under the sixth. When the weather was pleasant enough, the dome could open in two and a half minutes, turning Pittsburgh Civic Arena into an outdoor venue.

The Civic Light Opera did not stay in the building long, however, as it became clear that the acoustics were poor. The group left the arena by 1968. The AHL's Hornets were replaced by the expansion Penguins in 1967 and accordingly, the arena was gradually expanded. Renovations in 1975 and 1993 added upper level seating at each end zone and luxury suites and club seating, increasing the overall seating from 12,000 to 17,000. The 1995 addition of a new scoreboard prevents the roof from opening the entire way, but can still open up to two panels. The roof, however, is rarely opened due to the extremely high cost of electricity required to open the roof as the generator used has very low efficiency.Fact|date=May 2008

The Civic Arena played host to the 1990 NHL All-Star game. In that game, Mario Lemieux scored four goals in front of his hometown crowd, en route to winning his third All-Star game Most Valuable Player award. The Civic Arena also hosted NHL Stanley Cup Finals games in 1991, 1992 (when the Penguins won consecutive championships), and 2008. Since 1984, the arena has been called "home" by three players who won NHL scoring titles and Most Valuable Player awards as members of the Penguins: Mario Lemieux, Jaromir Jagr, and Sidney Crosby.

In 1995, the facility hosted the World Wrestling Federation's SummerSlam. Mellon Arena has gone on to host other WWF/WWE Pay-Per-View events, including King of the Ring in 1998 (responsible for a match between Mankind and The Undertaker that is frequently cited as one of the WWF's greatest, Unforgiven in 2001, and No Way Out in 2005. WWE also hosted its annual Armageddon) pay-per-view on December 16 2007. Raw, ECW and Smackdown has also been held multiple times. WWE's visits over the years resulted in a record attendance for Mellon Arena: 18,150.

In 1999, the resident Pittsburgh Penguins signed an $18-million, 10-year agreement to rename the Civic Arena the Mellon Arena, after Pittsburgh-based money management firm Mellon Financial. However, many locals still refer to it as the 'Igloo' or 'Civic Arena'.

Problems with age and replacement

In recent years, the age of the arena has been a problem. Over the arena's lifetime, additions and renovations not initially envisioned have contributed to its unusual layout. In either "end zone" of the arena, the lower level seats farthest from the floor have their views obstructed by the overhanging upper level. This requires the aid of television monitors in the ceiling for fans to see the action. In addition, some seats must be covered with a tarp because of leaky sections in the building's roof.Fact|date=February 2007

The aging arena is costly to maintain and does not produce enough revenue to keep the NHL's Penguins profitable.Fact|date=February 2007 It also has been unable to attract other events, such as concerts, due to the wiring and electrical capacity of the dated facility.

During a Penguins game against the Toronto Maple Leafs on March 19, 2006, the power abruptly went out in some sections of the arena, and the game was taken off the air while the technical difficulties were fixed. During this period, renderings and designs of a New Pittsburgh Arena were shown on the scoreboard as fans chanted, "New Arena, New Arena!" [ [http://youtube.com/watch?v=LGHHgMQnlMc YouTube - New Arena ] ]

In addition, the visitors' locker room is considered by many players from opposing teams as not being up to NHL standards. [http://www2.sportsnet.ca/video/videoPlayer.php?url=rtmp://38.99.151.50/sportsnet/SCA_MELLON_07_01_21.flv]

Ground was broken on the new/replacement arena on August 14, 2008.

Agreement for new Penguins arena

An agreement announced on March 13, 2007, between the Penguins, the city of Pittsburgh, Allegheny County and the state of Pennsylvania, calls for a New Pittsburgh Arena to be constructed for the start of the 2010-2011 NHL season. Although the Penguins' lease at Mellon Arena was scheduled to expire on June 30, 2007, the team extended it for two more years as part of a 30-year lease deal for the new facility. It is expected that the 2009-2010 season will be the team's last in Mellon Arena.

Other events

On September 14, 1964 the Beatles played a concert at the Civic Arena.

Rock legend Alice Cooper brought his 1971 "Killer" tour to the Civic Arena on December 27, 1971. The concert spectacle set a new record attendance of 14,400 and grossed $91,000. On December 31, 1976, Elvis Presley performed at the Civic Arena; it would be his last New Year's Eve, as he died eight months later.

English rock band Led Zeppelin performed at the venue three times: once in 1970 and twice during its 1975 tour. On March 25, 1995, Robert Plant and Jimmy Page attracted a record attendance of 17,764 at the arena until January 30, 1999 when 18,150 fans packed the arena for a WWF house show.

Genesis performed at Mellon Arena on September 9, 2007; as part of their reunion tour: Turn It On Again: The Tour; which was the first tour for Genesis since 1992 and included Phil Collins, Tony Banks, and Michael Rutherford with their touring members Chester Thompson and Daryl Steurmer.

The arena has previously hosted NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament games, six Atlantic Ten Conference men's basketball tournaments (1978–1983), and, until the construction of the Petersen Events Center, was the alternate home court of the University of Pittsburgh men's basketball team. From its inception, it has been an alternate home court for the Duquesne University men's basketball team and was the team's primary home from 1965 to 1988.

Since November 2005, the Pittsburgh Xplosion basketball team, of the historic Continental Basketball Association, has played at the arena. The team also plays some home games at the Petersen Events Center. The Xplosion is Pittsburgh's only current professional basketball team.

Mellon Arena's roof has rarely been opened in recent years. The arena was the setting for the 1995 Jean Claude Van Damme action film "Sudden Death", which was set during a fictional Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals, and the climax featured the roof being opened during the game (surprisingly, without the fans noticing). The roof also was opened during a performance of area high school chourus groups (called "The Night Of 1000 Stars") during the climax of "Ode To Joy" as fireworks were set off above the darkened arena, and was opened again during part of ArenaBowl I, marking the only time in AFL history that a game was played in an open-air environment.

Another movie filmed at Mellon Arena was the 1979 basketball movie, "The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh". In addition, it was used to film the movie " Best in Show" for both interior and exterior shots, though the movie was supposed to be in Philadelphia. Also on March 28, 2008, during a game against the Islanders, several shots were filmed for the Dreamworks SKG studio film "She's Out of My League".

The arena also will host the 2009 Continental Basketball Association All-Star Game and skills competition, as it is home to the Pittsburgh Xplosion.

The Mellon Arena has also been a tour stop to the United States Hot Rod Association since the mid 80's. The building can handle 8 trucks parked inside at once, but in the 80's the seats leading into the tunnels were opened so trucks came in one side and left on the other.

Famous bands and performers such as Elton John, Billy Joel, Bruce Springsteen, Trans Siberian Orchestra, and Rod Stewart, just to name a few, have performed nurmerous times and continue to.

References

* [http://media.www.pointparkglobe.com/media/storage/paper1255/news/2007/10/11/Sports/Professional.Basketball.Team.Makes.xplosion.In.Pittsburgh-3024206.shtml/ Point Park University teams up with Xplosion]

External links

* [http://maps.google.com/maps?ll=40.441725,-79.990071&spn=0.005178,0.010131&t=k&hl=en Google Maps satellite view of Mellon Arena]
* [http://www.mellonarena.com/ Mellon Arena website]
* [http://www.PittsburghXplosion.com/ Pittsburgh Xplosion Basketball (CBA)]
* [http://www.pittsburghhockey.net/Common/CivicArena/CivicArena.html Facts and figures]

succession box
title = Pittsburgh Ice Hockey Venues
years = 1967 – ca. 2010
before = Duquesne Gardens
after = New Pittsburgh Arena
succession box
title = Home of the
Pittsburgh Penguins
years = 1967 – ca. 2010
before = First arena
after = New Pittsburgh Arena
succession box
title = Host of NHL All-Star Game
years = 1990
before = Northlands Coliseum
after = Chicago Stadium
succession box
title = Home of the
Pittsburgh Xplosion
years = 2005 – ca. 2010
before = First Arena
after = New Pittsburgh Arena


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