Bruins may move practice facility


Bruins may move practice facility

BOSTON -- One bit of news that did come out of the season-ending Bruins press conference with the teams ownership and management group Thursday was the potential future of the teams practice facility.

Bruins president Cam Neely said the Bs have one year remaining on their contract with the town of Wilmingtons Ristuccia Arena, and it's possible they could extend the deal.

"We're in discussions with Ristuccia Arena right now," said Neely.

But theres also a desire for a facility thats a little closer to the city of Boston, and more state-of-the-art . . . like the practice homes for the Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs.

Sources outside the Bruins organization have indicated to that there's interest in a new practice facility in the Brighton area, adjacent to the New Balance building. New Balance recently partnered with Warrior Hockey in an initial foray into the hockey equipment business. The rink would be part of a 235 million development project thats being proposed by New Balance to completely redevelop the Brighton Landing area around their Guest Street headquarters.

Bruins principal owner Charlie Jacobs said the team has explored other potential practice facilities more befitting an Original Six franchise than the high school hockey rink in Wilmington, and outlined some of the criteria the team was seeking.

Cam and I have been collaborating a bit on what should be the best facility for us moving forward, said Jacobs. Weve batted it around and considered Wilmington a bit and obviously also explored some other locations. We like to think of our training facility and practice facilities as a drawing card for players that might be playing on other markets and look at us and say, Geez, Id love to come to Boston, not only for the atmosphere, but for the environment, and the day-to-day environment where they practice.

The practice facility really does need to be, if you will, world class in that regard. So, weve put together, for lack of better term, a blue-ribbon committee to say, Lets try to find the right location thats within very short driving distance to the Boston Garden that could offer that kind of environment, that kind of ice and training facility.

"Were in the process of that now. We dont have any final answers to share with you today, other than saying weve done a lot of work on this subject. I think were drawing to a real good conclusion.

Backes set to star in Animal Planet special this weekend


Backes set to star in Animal Planet special this weekend

It’s only a coincidence that it will air the same week that the Boston Bruins went Hollywood with their annual three-game road trip through California, but David Backes and his wife Kelly are going to get some solid TV time this weekend. The animal-loving couple are going to be featured Saturday night in the all-new Animal Planet special "Stars to the Rescue," which highlights the Backes family’s excellent work to ensure every animal has a ‘furever’ home.

The lifelong animal lovers have adopted five rescue pets that all made the move from St. Louis to Boston this summer, and launched Athletes for Animals in 2013, a non-profit organization supporting professional athletes and animal advocacy efforts. The 32-year-old Backes chose a Boston animal shelter as his first setting to meet with the Boston media this summer after signing with the Bruins in free agency, and spoke glowingly about his inspiration for marrying two of his passions: helping animals and sports.

“The full story is that in college we wanted an animal or two, but it just wasn’t responsible because we were renting and the landlords didn’t approve," said Backes, the proud owner of four dogs (Maverick, Rosey, Marty and Bebe) and two cats (Sunny, Poly). "We just didn’t really have the time or resources to support them, so we volunteered at the local shelter for the three years I was in school.

“When my wife [Kelly] and I moved to St. Louis, we wanted to connect with the community, be a part and use our voice to influence social change to do our part making the world a little bit of a better place. So we said, ‘Why not connect with the animal welfare rescue community?’

“We absolutely love doing it: Walking dogs, scooping litter boxes and cleaning kennels. Let’s use our voice to kick this off and see what we can do, and it really just snowballed from that to then trying to tie other guys into it. It’s not limited to the animal stuff, but the animals that don’t have a voice, and the kids that don’t have a voice, really tug at our heart strings. We want to help them with this blessing of a great voice we’ve been given as professional athletes, and to really use that to give them some help.”

The “Stars to the Rescue” special premieres on Saturday night at 8 pm on Animal Planet where there will be a full segment on the Backes family, but here’s a clip where Backes talks about his well-publicized involvement with a number of stray dog rescues during his 2014 Olympic Hockey stint with Team USA in Sochi, Russia.

Backes isn’t the only Boston athlete featured during the Animal Planet special as it also chronicles the stories of other well-known athletes and celebrities and the dogs they can't live without: Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman, Baltimore Ravens’ Ronnie Stanley, Selma Blair, ESPN Correspondent Michelle Beadle, WNBA star Elena Delle Donne, former Red Sox knuckleballer Tim Wakefield and more. From training buddies to comforting companions, “Stars to the Rescue” shows first-hand how these celebrities first met their cute rescued canines and how their dogs have impacted and transformed their lives for the better.

What we learned in Bruins' 4-1 win over Kings: Back on track


What we learned in Bruins' 4-1 win over Kings: Back on track

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