Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

For Blues Fans, It's a New Deal at New Kiel

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

For Blues Fans, It's a New Deal at New Kiel

Article excerpt

For a mobile society, many Americans still like to dig in at home.

We talk about movin' on up. Once the kids arrive, we get plugged into the neighborhood, and a routine sets in. A family tends to fix up rather than move out.

That's why "This Old House" has a TV audience.

A team's fans are a large family that thinks there's no place like home. So many Blues fans are dreading Oct. 11. They won't be crawling off Highway 40 near Oakland Avenue, where The Arena looms as familiar as great-grandma's house.

They'll be finding an exit downtown near the new Kiel Center, which is rising as smart and sterile as a model home.

This won't be an easy move. Even newcomers to town get attached to the Old Barn, which is more than a pet name. Old? The Arena turns 65 on Sept. 24. Barn? It opened in 1929 as a home for the National Dairy Show.

The ice plant was an afterthought in 1931. Like a house being filled by a growing family, The Arena made home improvements to seat more fans than it could handle. Remember, this was originally a stable with a dirt floor. For more than six decades, the Old Barn has been playing out of position.

The Blues were unable to say a proper goodbye at their last regular-season game. That's nobody's fault. Nobody knew then that it was time for farewell.

Alberici Construction hustled like a Sutter to get two months ahead of schedule. When the Kiel roof was completed the other day, keeping out the elements, the early opening was assured.

Even in its dotage, The Arena still offers the best sightlines in captivity. Some Arena fans will find their Kiel seats slightly more remote. In hockey talk, that's a minus rating.

But This New House is going to be a plus player by a wide margin.

The Old Barn was only lovable if you were in your seat. Getting in or out of it was more nerve-wracking than the game. Traffic jams. Parking hassles. Long lines for bad food. Long lines for toilets that leaked like the Blues' defense.

The new Kiel will have more access roads, although it won't seem smoother until fans map out side routes. …

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