While there has clearly been some unrest about the surge in Bruins ticket prices for loyal season ticket holders headed into the 2014-15 NHL season, nobody can accuse ownership of failing to reinvest the money into the product. The Bruins will actually pay penalties on this upcoming season’s salary cap for spending past the ceiling for all NHL teams, and ownership – represented by Charlie Jacobs -- showed off some significant improvements at TD Garden during a hard hat tour earlier in the week.
The work is part of an improvement plan by the Delaware North owners of TD Garden; a plan that has resulted in $100 million worth of upgrades over the last three years at the arena on Causeway Street. It includes a massive upgrade of the Bruins/Celtics ProShop to twice its current size, a big boost of the bandwidth inside TD Garden for fans that have experienced difficulty doing something as simple as uploading a photograph, and new concession options in the concourse area.
“The Jacobs family is committed to bringing fans a first class experience every time they enter the TD Garden, and we believe that these improvements will make our building the standard by which other venues are measured,” said Jacobs. “As you can see today, we are working tirelessly through the summer months to ensure that our fans will experience the industry leading hospitality that they deserve when they arrive at the TD Garden to support the Bruins and Celtics, and all our events next season.”
On Thursday, Delaware North Companies released the design and details of the concourse phase of a $70 million renovation project currently underway inside the Garden walls, and that actually began during the second round series against the Canadiens more than a month ago.
The complete overhaul of levels 4 and 7 includes infrastructure to support high-density WiFi, redesigned concourse areas and concession stands, and updated menu options. Interestingly, TD Garden will become the first North American sports arena that will have antennae and routers inside the boards, installed to boost signal strength for fans who use their phones during the game.
The privately financed, two-year transformation also includes the development of a new ProShop on level 2, comprehensive renovation of Legends Club -- the private high-end restaurant for Bruins and Celtics season ticket holders -- and upgraded technology infrastructure throughout. The TD Garden will remain open throughout the renovations. The level 4 concourse restructure, a significant portion of the food and drink stands, and Legends Club are expected to be complete for the beginning of the season. Jacobs said the Garden ProShop is set to open in time for the holidays, and the level 7 concourse makeover is slated for next summer.
Jacobs also hinted there will be some interactive, electronic additions to the ProShop that will make it a gathering place for fans, with one huge change from the status quo: the shop will be accessible by fans within the building during Bruins and Celtics games.
Currently the ProShop is only available to ticket-holding fans before and after games given it’s location on the first floor in the East side of the building.
According to a TD Garden press release, the goal was to infuse the rich history of the City of Boston, the Bruins and the Celtics with modern technology.
"TD Garden has an incredibly rich sports heritage that resonates with fans," said Kelly Deines, Principal and Creative Director at Rossetti, the firm that designed the renovations. "We wanted to respect that nostalgia while emphasizing Boston’s industrial transit background. We framed the design with indigenous Boston references while celebrating the Garden’s sports legacy, and then used technology in creative ways throughout the concourse and in clubs."
As part of this two-year renovation, all the existing concession stands on the concourses will be overhauled, and 25 new ones will be added. More than 12,000 square feet of reconfigured common space have been incorporated into the new design.
Two new ‘Market Places’ and multiple Craft Beer Bars will integrate local neighborhood flavors into the arena experience. The new concession options will focus on local flavor with specialty menu items selected for their connection to Boston and New England.
The new menu at Legends is expected to boast things like Lobster pot pie and dry rub wings.
*I would pay cash money to hear the phrase "The Pittsburgh Penguins have hired Mike Keenan as their next head coach" in Philly at the NHL draft after watching them lose out on first choice Willie Desjardins. Truth be told, a taskmaster like Keenan could be exactly what the doctor ordered for a Penguins team that had a few too many friendly pats on the back during the Disco Dan Bylsma era. The word out of Pittsburgh is that they want much less of a player’s coach this time around.
*Good luck to everybody taking part in the Boston Wiffle Ball Challenge this weekend at Boston University’s Nickerson Field. The tournament will run from 8:00am to 3 pm, and is open to the public. So bring the family and enjoy a day filled with friendly competition, a variety of entertainment, a great silent auction and maybe even a familiar face or two from around the city.
Proceeds will be benefiting Travis Roy Foundation, Inc which is dedicated to enhancing the life of individuals with spinal cord injuries and funding research; and Franciscan Hospital for Children, who each year provides care and treatment to more than 10,000 children with a wide range of physical, medical, and behavioral challenges. Check their website for more details, and enjoy the great summer weather tailor made for waffle ball.
*The excellent Cap Geek came out with the report that the Bruins face a $4.7 million bonus overage for next season due to bonus money paid out to Jarome Iginla ($3.7 million to be exact), but also to rookies Torey Krug, Dougie Hamilton and Ryan Spooner. Amazingly, Krug hit $425,000 of his bonus money in the final Bruins home game of the 2013-14 season when he racked up his 25th assist and 40th point of the season. Reaching each of those season milestones earned him $212,500, and they also arrived on his 22nd birthday no less. That’s certainly better than any birthday present this humble hockey writer has ever received.
Remember to keep shooting the puck at the net, and good things are bound to happen.