Wednesday, February 22, 2017

68 Years Ago

Photo Credit: Wikipedia
 I've mentioned this before but the Cincinnati Gardens is inching ever so close to becoming a distant memory. After the initial shock of the sale last summer and the announcement that it'll be shuttered as an active arena, I'd finally made peace with the fact it will no longer be around. Then today on Twitter I saw that it was the 68th anniversary of the Gardens opening and nostalgia came flooding back.

Photo Credit: Ronny Salerno
The picture above was taken by local photographer Ronny Salerno of the awesome Queen City Discovery site as in a great shot of the interior of the old hockey barn out on Seymour Avenue is a less than desirable part of town. The reason I chose to use this picture to show the inside is because 68 years ago, the Gardens opened with an exhibition hockey game between Montreal and their farm team, the Dallas Texans. That first week saw both an University of Cincinnati and a Xavier University basketball game, and a boxing match featuring Ezzard Charles but hockey is really what made the Gardens.

Over the years, numerous teams played there, the Mohawks, the Swords, the first iteration of the Cyclones, and the Mighty Ducks just to name a few. Once the Mighty Ducks left town, the Gardens was left without a pro hockey team for the first time in its history. There was a team that was supposed to replace them, the Railraiders, but they never took the ice.

Today, the dasher boards have been pulled up, the scoreboard has been lowered, the seats and memorabilia have been auctioned off, and the last fans have long ago exited the building. As I mentioned in my post back in the summer, I'm going to miss the old place, despite the fact the last event I went to there was in 2011. I only went to three events there, all pro wrestling events, and I still have the ticket stubs as proof that I set foot in the legendary venue.

Now, even though the wrecking ball is imminent, the memories will remain. All that's left for now is to turn out the lights ...

Good bye, old friend, it's been fun.

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