Mellon Arena

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The Mellon Arena (known as Civic Arena from 1961-1999, also known as the Igloo) is an indoor arena in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It is home to the Pittsburgh Penguins of the National Hockey League and was formerly home to the Pittsburgh Hornets of the AHL, Pittsburgh Pipers and Pittsburgh Condors of the ABA and Pittsburgh Spirit of the MISL, among others. The arena currently seats 17,537 for ice hockey, with 56 luxury suites and 1,696 club seats.

The arena is currently the oldest one in use in the NHL, completed in 1961 at a cost of $22 million. Oddly enough, the stadium was not originally intended for sports, but primarily to host the city's Civic Light Opera, which had previously performed at Pitt Stadium, but had tired of having performances rained out. The building was - and remains - highly unique, and well ahead of its time. It was built with a retractable dome made of six stainless steel panels, five of which would shift under the sixth in two and a half minutes when the weather was sufficiently pleasant.

The CLO did not stay in the building long, however, as it became clear that the acoustics were too poor for its use, and it left by 1968. The AHL's Pittsburgh Hornets had already moved in 1961, and were replaced by the expansion Penguins in 1967. The stadium was gradually expanded, with renovations in 1975 and 1993 adding balconies at each end and building luxury suites and club seating, increasing the overall seating from 12,000 to over 17,000. The 1995 addition of a new scoreboard, though, robbed the stadium of its signature element - the roof can no longer be opened and closed completely.

In recent years, the Penguins ownership has taken to complaining that the old arena is too costly and does not produce enough revenue to keep the team profitable, requiring the construction of a new arena to keep the team in place. Whether this proves true - particularly with the current labor upheavals in the NHL, is yet to be seen.

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