Chicago Stadium


Chicago Stadium opened on March 28, 1929, and, at that time, it was the largest indoor sporting arena in the entire world. It was built at a cost of about $7,000,000. The first event held there was a boxing match. In 1932, the NFL championship was decided in Chicago Stadium when the Chicago Bears defeated the Portsmouth Spartans 9-0. The Blackhawks played their first game in the Stadium on December 16, 1929. They treated a crowd of 14,212 fans to a 3-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates. The building became known over the years as one of the toughest for opponents to play in. The crowd was nearly on top of the ice and it was always very loud.

One of the things many people remember from Chicago Stadium is the organ. It was built in 1929, in Oshkosh, Wisconsin and was so big, it took 24 railroad cars to transport it to Chicago. The organ cost $120,000 and could attain the volume level of 25 100-piece brass bands playing at the same time.

One of the greatest moments in Chicago Stadium came in 1991 when the All-Star game was played there. It was at the beginning of the Gulf War and Wayne Messmer's rendition of the national anthem had everybody cheering wildly. Chicago Stadium also hosted NHL All-Star games in 1974, 1961, and 1948.

Sadly, Chicago Stadium went the way of many of hockey's historic arenas. The small ice surface (188ft. x 85ft.) and lack of luxury seating made the old barn obsolete and it was torn down. The Hawks played their last regular season game in Chicago Stadium on April 14, 1994. The last regular season goal was scored by Dirk Graham during that game. The Hawks played the last game ever in Chicago Stadium on April 28, 1994, in the first round of the 1994 playoffs against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Mike Gartner of the Maple Leafs was the last player ever to score a goal in Chicago Stadium when he scored a power play goal during the first period of Game 6. The last Blackhawk goal in the Stadium was scored by Jeremy Roenick in game 4 of that same series when he scored at 1:23 of overtime to give the Hawks a 4-3 victory. Unfortunately, they lost this historic series to Toronto, 4 games to 2. The next year, the Hawks moved across the street to the United Center.

Even though it may be physically gone, the "Mad House on Madison" will always live on in the hearts of Blackhawks fans.

Click here to read Chris Chelios'
thoughts on the Stadium's glory days

From the book Chicago Stadium by Don Hayner & Tom McNamee:

                "The Chicago Stadium is Hawks Land. Always was, always will be, until the day the last brick is toppled. That deep red paint on every railing? Blackhawks red. If the Chicago Bulls decided tomorrow to change their colors from red to blue, those seats and railings still would be red. Hawks red. Those retired numbers hanging from the rafters? Blackhawks numbers. Look up and see them--21, 1, 35 and 9 for Stan Mikita, Glenn Hall, Tony Esposito and Bobby Hull. The circuses are wonderful, the ice shows spectacular. The boxing matches were exciting and the rock concerts a gas. The Chicago Bulls, of course, are unforgettable. But the Stadium is Hawks Land."

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