Mellon Arena, also known as the Civic Arena and nicknamed “The Igloo,” was constructed with nearly 3,000 tons of Pittsburgh steel and was the first retractable major-sports venue in the world. From 1967 to 2010, it essentially served as the home to the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Within the span of 40-plus years, Mellon Arena hosted infinite memories. These memories remain alive in the city of Pittsburgh even though our beloved Igloo is no longer with us. What are with us, however, are the moments that were brought to life there and will never be taken away.
Let’s take a look back and reminisce about the Top Five Moments held at Mellon Arena.
#5: Sidney Crosby. On July 30, 2005, Crosby was selected first overall in the draft by the Pittsburgh Penguins. He scored his first NHL goal (and added two assists) in his first home game as a Penguin on Oct. 8, 2005 against Boston at Mellon Arena. He also became the youngest player in NHL history to score 100 points in a season on April 17, 2006 against the New York Islanders at Mellon Arena.
#4: June 4, 2009: The Pittsburgh Penguins were down 2-1 against the defending champs, Detroit Red Wings, in game four of the Stanley Cup Finals. Jordan Staal tied the score on a shorthanded goal at 8:35 of the second period. Sidney Crosby and Tyler Kennedy scored for a 4-2 victory that turned the series and catapulted the Penguins to win their third Stanley Cup championship.
#3: December 27, 2000: Thee Mellon Arena legend, Mario Lemieux, returned to the Penguins lineup after a three-year retirement as if he never left the ice. He assisted on two goals and scored one. He went on to score 35 goals and have 41 assists in 43 games that season.
#2: May 26, 1992: The Penguins were down 4-1 in game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals against the Chicago Blackhawks before Rick Tocchet and Lemieux scored in a span of 59 seconds. Then Jaromir Jagr tied the game and Lemieux won the game with 12.6 seconds left. Pens went on to trump the Blackhawks 5-4 and sweep the series.
#1: Mario Lemieux and His 5 Goal Extravaganza: December 31, 1988, the Pens hosted the New Jersey Devils and Lemieux owned ice. Not only did Le Magnifique score five goals, but he scored all them five different ways; even strength, shorthanded, power play, penalty shot, empty net. No other building will ever host this type of achievement.
Crosby said it best: “I always think of it as Mario’s place,” said Crosby. “You look at what he’s done in the city and so many nights here, I think it’s safe to say that this is his place.”
How lucky we are as Pittsburgh Penguins fans to have witnessed such triumphs at Mellon Arena. Now, onto the CONSOL Energy Center where amazing moments have already happened, are happening, and will happen. Let’s Go Pens!
Photo Credits: From the Point