RIP Northlands Coliseum aka the Concrete Jungle: Nov 10, 1974 – Jan 1, 2018
What a beautiful, magnificent, gargantuan shithole. Forever a Jungle: the Coliseum. The Concrete that Al Hamilton built. The centrepiece of our Northlands. 1974-2018. What a damn run.
So yesterday, as news broke that Calgary’s city council made it clear that the Flames will be playing in the Dome for the foreseeable future, our city council confirmed reports that the Coliseum will be closing its doors forever, effective January 1, 2018. That barn, man. What can I say. It had a lot of names. Many will remember it as Rexall Place, or Skyreach Centre, or the Edmonton Coliseum, and definitely Northlands Coliseum, but for us, it will forever be the Concrete Jungle. Some serious shit went down in that impregnable fortress. As some of you may remember, we counted down the top ten Jungle moments way back in April, 2015. And those were just ten of them. Honestly, I could go on for hours about all the times I had and memories I made during my 26 years of existence inside that palace. Because of the Jungle, I now hit a previously unprecedented level of emotional nostalgia every time I see an errant slab of concrete.
We had some great times. Sadly, we finished our last ten seasons as a slightly below modest 298-398-90. But, despite finishing a literal 100 games below .500, we packed that barn every night. It didn’t matter how many Toby Petersons or Jerred Smithsons or Liam Reddoxs or Lenny Petrells or Anton Belovs or fucking Phil Larsens and his miserable bullshit that we had basically no choice but to watch stumble to 26 win seasons, we were always there. And now our watch has ended. Like Conor McGregor, they put up a fight despite heavily unfavourable odds. They tried to go toe to toe against the Rog Mahal and try to steal some events from the pretty new palace downtown. They tried to attract a crowd by sticking a hooters in the bleeders’ concessions. But in the end, like McGregor, they got pummelled by a much superior opponent. WWE and B list country singers can’t even keep the Jungle alive any longer. It’s time is officially done. Northlands is probably done. I’d be lying if I said I liked the Inn’s chances of survival. God knows Pinky’s doesn’t stand a fighting chance in hell anymore. It’s done. And I’m kind of sad. Never forget what could have been:
Ya… that was a bit of a stretch. Transforming the Jungle into a state of the art facility with glass windows and maybe even Wifi was a fictional fantasy equivalent only to that of Jack Eichel telling teams he’d be better than Connor McDavid. It never, ever stood a chance. If you have time, swing by the Jungle this winter to pay your respects. Thoughts and prayers.
PS – I’m kind of worried about the Oil Derrick. Somebody make sure that colossal pile of steel makes it out of this death sentence alive. If it can’t fit in the Rog it should at least get a permanent residence at Commonwealth. We owe it that much.