“A characteristic essay in Formalism,” according to architectural historian Harold Kalman, W.K. Noppe’s 15,000 seat circular arena replaced the 5000-seat Forum, built in 1948 and still extant on the PNE grounds, as the city’s major hockey venue. The Pacific Coliseum is the largest building in the Hastings Park complex and since its opening in 1968, it has provided a setting for events as diverse as NHL hockey, ice shows, boxing, basketball, concerts, circuses, large assemblies, and trade and consumer shows.
The Pacific Coliseum was originally built to attract a NHL franchise. In 1967, in the first expansion of the National Hockey League from its original six-team base, Vancouver’s bid was rejected; in the second round, in 1970, the Canucks were successful. In the early years of the 20th century, hockey teams played at the Denman Arena. Founded in 1954, the Canucks were a minor-league professional team in the Western Hockey League before ascending to the NHL. Pacific Coliseum hosted its first NHL game on October 9, 1970; the Los Angeles Kings defeated the Canucks 3–1. During their first ever season in the NHL, the Vancouver Canucks scored a record of 26 wins, 46 losses, and 8 ties for 56 points. The team continued to play at the Coliseum until 1995 when they moved to General Motors Place, since renamed Rogers Arena. The games of two Stanley Cup Finals in 1982 and 1994 were played at the arena. The Coliseum was home to hockey’s minor-league Vancouver Giants from 2001 until 2016, when it was announced they were relocating to the Langley Events Centre.
The Coliseum was also a venue for major musical events such as the second visit by Led Zeppelin on March 21, 1970, before 19,000 fans. The previous year that band had played at the nearby Agrodome, built in 1963 and the venue for early concerts by the Rolling Stones in 1965, the Who in 1967 and Pink Floyd in 1970. The largest acts played BC Place after it opened in the 1980s.
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