Bruins looking for new practice rink in Boston

Bruins looking for new practice rink in Boston
October 2, 2013, 4:30 pm
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BOSTON -- The Bruins have used Wilmington’s Ristuccia Arena for more than a decade as their practice facility, and it’s been a productive relationship for both parties over that time. There’s even a large Stanley Cup statue right outside the building commemorating the run three years ago that allowed the Bruins to hoist Lord Stanley’s chalice high over their heads.

But it’s no secret the B's organization, more specifically president Cam Neely and principal Charlie Jacobs, has been pining for a newer facility closer to Boston. NHL teams like the Montreal Canadiens, Toronto Maple Leafs and Washington Capitals have state-of-the-art practice facilities they regularly practice at, and the feeling is that the Bruins could use one of those newfangled hockey rinks as well.

“It will be a group decision, but my hope that we’ll have a premier, world-class training facility. It’s not to say that we don’t have one in Ristuccia, but we think we can do better and have a little bit of an upgrade,” said Jacobs.

There has been ample talk about the Bruins moving into the New Balance building project that’s in the development process in Brighton. It would make sense given New Balance’s relationship with Warrior Hockey, which has an arena in the plans for the complex.

But Neely would only say that “the Bruins have a number of options they’re considering,” while Jacobs indicated the team is also pursuing a potential practice rink adjacent to TD Garden on the Delaware North property. The facility could double as a smaller theatre able to house smaller productions/concerts with a seating capacity of 5,000 people.

That would make a whole lot of sense for shows looking to play in Boston that don’t have the ability to sell out a 16,000 seat venue like TD Garden. The Boston location for a B’s practice facility would certainly make life easier for the majority of players, coaches, management and media that travel out for hockey practice on a regular basis.

“If it works out with Boston Properties when we pencil in the number, then we might even be able to have it next door [at the TD Garden] with some of the retail properties and restaurants,” said Jacobs. “We have some really good concepts that could help really fill in the North End. If it happens to be a rink, then great. If not then we’ll continue our discussions with [New Balance] and with Skate Public Boston.

“There are a number of different opportunities for us, but [having a practice rink adjacent to TD Garden] might be Option No. 1 in my book. Things change and it’s a very volatile process. I’ve seen practice rinks at malls and we’ve seen different model all over the league. I like this one because it compliments some of the other things we might want to do here.”

Stay tuned as it seems the Bruins may have a decision to make concerning next year’s practice rink setting.