Yes, Flint has a certain negative reputation among people who've never been there, and even among those of us who have genuine affection for the city, it still doesn't quite bring to mind the glories of Renaissance Florence.
The former IMA Sports Arena was built in the 1960's and is located just on the Flint side of the boundary separating city from suburbs.
It's easily visible from the interstate; a modernist gleaming white pile that has the unceremonious profile of a functional mid-century arena, surrounded by parking lots.
On game nights the parking lot fills slowly and expensively, and a number of people appeared to be parking on city streets in the neighbourhood immediately to the south.
The city has proven over the years that it will support hockey, and with a built-in rival just up the road in Saginaw, one expects that the Firebirds will become an entrenched part of the fabric of the OHL long in the future.
The Dort Event Center underwent massive renovations in anticipation of the Firebirds starting play, which included "a professional grade first-class locker room with a players lounge, stadium seating video room, coaches' offices, equipment and trainer's rooms along with a new weight room, media suite and visitor's locker room.