Ice Hockey Wiki
Mellon Arena
The Igloo
Location 66 Mario Lemieux Place, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15219-3504
Broke ground March 12, 1957
Opened September 19, 1961
Closed June 26, 2010
Demolished September 26, 2011 - March 12, 2012
Owner City of Pittsburgh
Surface Ice
Construction cost US$22 million
Architect Mitchell and Ritchey
Former names Civic Auditorium, Civic Arena
Tenants Pittsburgh Penguins (NHL) (1967-present)
Pittsburgh Xplosion (Continental Basketball Association) (2005-2008)
Pittsburgh Rens (American Basketball League ) (1961–63)
Pittsburgh Hornets (AHL) (1961–1967)
Pittsburgh Condors (American Basketball Association) (1967–1973)
Pittsburgh Triangles (World TeamTennis) (1974–76)
Pittsburgh Spirit (Major Soccer League) (1978–1980, 1981–1986)
Pittsburgh Gladiators (Arena Football League) (1987–1990)
Pittsburgh Bulls (Major Indoor Lacrosse League]) (1990–1993)
Pittsburgh Phantoms (Roller Hockey International) (1994)
Pittsburgh Stingers (Continental Indoor Soccer League) (1994–1995)
Pittsburgh Piranhas (Continental Basketball Association) (1994-1995)
Pittsburgh CrosseFire (National Lacrosse League) (2000)
Capacity Ice hockey: 16,940
Basketball: 17,537
  • End Stage 12,800
  • Center Stage 18,039

Mellon Arena (formerly the Civic Auditorium and Civic Arena, nicknamed The Igloo) was an arena in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It primarily served as the home to the Pittsburgh Penguins, the city's National Hockey League (NHL) franchise. Constructed in 1961, for the use of the Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera (CLO) Mellon Arena has hosted multiple concerts, as well as hockey, basketball, tennis, boxing, wrestling, and soccer matches. The Arena was the world's first major indoor sports stadium with a retractable roof. It is named for Mellon Financial, which purchased the naming rights in 1999.

Construction and design

The $22 million arena was built for the CLO in 1961. Funding was provided by a combination of public and private money, including grants from Allegheny County, City of Pittsburgh, and Edgar J. Kaufmann owner of Kaufmann's department store. The arena's design incorporated 2,950 tons of stainless steel from Pittsburgh. The Arena was designed for the CLO, which previously held productions at Pitt Stadium. The roof, which is supported by a 260 foot arch, is free of internal support leaving no obstruction for the seats within. The roof, which has a diameter of 415 feet, is divided into eight sections. Six of the sections could fold underneath two—in two and one-half minutes—making the Mellon Arena the world's first major indoor sports stadium with a retractable roof. The stadium's capacity fluctuates depending on the event being hosted, but has increased due to additions between 1972 and 1991. The arena originally consisted only of lower bowl seating, but over time, upper decks were installed in the arena's "end zones" to increase capacity. In December 1999, Mellon Financial purchased the Arena's naming rights in a 10 year, $18 million agreement, which renamed the arena Mellon Arena.


The Pittsburgh Hornets, members of the American Hockey League (AHL) played home games at the Duquesne Gardens, located in the Oakland section of Pittsburgh. The team played 20 seasons in the Gardens prior to its demolition, which made room for an apartment building. The Arena opened on September 17, 1961. With the Arena available, the Hornets resumed play in the 1961–62 season and went on to win the Calder Cup in the 1966–67 season.

As part of the 1967 NHL Expansion, the city of Pittsburgh was selected to host one of six new franchises. With a hockey seating capacity of 12,508, Pittsburgh's Mellon Arena was eight seats over the NHL's minimum seating benchmark. Due to its outward appearance, the Arena was nicknamed "The Igloo" which led to the naming of the Penguins. The Penguins debuted at the Civic Arena on October 11, 1967 in a 2–1 loss to the Montreal Canadiens. Andy Bathgate scored the Penguins's first goal in the arena. The Penguins won their first game at the Arena on October 21, when they became the first expansion team to beat an original NHL franchise—besting the Chicago Blackhawks 4–2. On January 21, 1990, the Civic Arena hosted the 41st National Hockey League All-Star Game. Pittsburgh's Mario Lemieux scored three goals on his first three shots—the first coming 21 seconds into the game. He later scored a fourth goal and was named the game's Most Valuable Player. The arena also hosted the 1997 NHL Entry Draft. Games of the 1991, 1992 and 2009 Stanley Cup Finals, which the Penguins won, were hosted at the arena, as were three games of the 2008 Finals. The 2008 Finals marked the only occasion that the Stanley Cup was presented on Mellon Arena ice, after the Penguins were defeated by the Detroit Red Wings in six games.

Panoramic view of Mellon Arena in October 2007

Replacement and demolition

As of 2009, Mellon Arena was the oldest and lowest capacity arena in the NHL by official capacity. In later years, the arena's staff were forced to use space for mutiple purposes never intended in the building's original design. The Penguins franchise agreed to a deal with city and state officials to fund a new home arena for the franchise in March 2007. The Consol Energy Center was to be located across the street from the site of Mellon Arena and it was to have a higher seating capacity. It was expected to open for the 2010–11 NHL season, at which point the Mellon Arena was scheduled for demolition. Demolition on Mellon Arena started on September 26, 2011, and was completed on March 12, 2012.

External links

Preceded by
first arena
Home of the
Pittsburgh Penguins

1967 – ca. 2010
Succeeded by
Consol Energy Center
Preceded by
Northlands Coliseum
Host of NHL All-Star Game
Succeeded by
Chicago Stadium

This page uses content from Wikipedia. The original article was at Mellon Arena. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with Ice Hockey Wiki, the text of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License 3.0 (Unported) (CC-BY-SA).