CLEVELAND - As a child, my dad took me to a Barons hockey game at the old Cleveland Arena. I remember how dank and dreary the place was. There was no glass separating the game from the crowd, there was chicken wire.
Cavaliers’ head coach Bill Fitch, after his team won only 15 games in its inaugural 1970-71 NBA season, said the only stat his team led the league in was cars stolen from the parking lot.
The Cleveland Arena opened in 1937 and, as you’ll see in our video player, hosted a myriad of events in its 40 years of existence. It was home to the K of C track meets, rodeos, the AHL Barons, the WHA Crusaders, and before the NBA Cavaliers, it was home to some "home" games for the NBA’s Cincinnati Royals.
The Royals were a troubled franchise. Some of their bigger crowds in the few seasons they split home games between Cincy and Cleveland were in Cleveland.
Cleveland-native George Steinbrenner’s American Basketball League’s Pipers played at the Arena.
Nick Mileti purchased the Arena and moved his Cavaliers from the downtown Cleveland venue to far away Richfield in 1974.
The first film is behind the scenes at the ticket windows for the K of C track meet and then off we go to the track meet, the date for this film is February 1967.
It’s stick day at a Barons game and we get to see a bit of the March 1969 game. People stuck around to watch the Barons ice turn into basketball hardwood for a Cincinnati Royals game versus the Philadelphia 76ers.
Wow! It’s the Batmobile at the Cleveland Auto World show on Sept. 27, 1969. It’s difficult to tell if those boys admiring the car or the lovely model in the TV car.
We jump to 1976 as plans are floated to refurbish the old arena, alas it was not to be.
Back in time we go to 1969 for Fred Glover night to honor the local hockey legend. Glover played from 1963 to 1968 in Cleveland and went on to play in the NHL until 1974. Mileti is the emcee for the event.
In the highlights from the hockey game, you can see the aforementioned chicken wire surrounding the rink.
Turn the page to the closed arena and the auction that took place before demolition. It looks if it was a fire sale and not because there was a fire at the Euclid Avenue arena before it was torn down in 1977.
They sold everything from old pennants to the ice-cleaning Zamboni.
The arena site is now home to the Cleveland chapter of the Red Cross.
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