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  • Writer's picturePaul Baker

TD Garden – Boston Bruins

Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 4.00

TD Garden 100 Legends Way Boston, MA 02114

Boston Bruins website

TD Garden website

Year Opened: 1995

Capacity: 19,580


The Gahden

Going to a game in an Original Six city is a sacred pilgrimage for hockey fans, and the buildings these teams once called home were true shrines of the game. While the Boston Garden, Montreal Forum, Olympia, Joe Louis Arena, Maple Leafs Garden and Chicago Stadium have faded into history, Original Six teams continue to hold a special place in NHL lore.

The Boston Bruins are the third oldest team in the NHL, and were the first team based in the United States to join the league. 58 individuals associated with the team have been enshrined in the Hockey Hall of Fame. The Bruins have won six Stanley Cups in their history, most recently in 2011.

The TD Garden is only the third venue that the Bruins have called home in close to a century of competition, after the Boston Arena (now called Matthews Arena) and the Boston Garden. Built just nine inches from its predecessor, it is named for its sponsor, TD Bank. In addition to serving as home to the Bruins and the NBA’s Boston Celtics, the Garden annually serves as host to the Beanpot Tournament and Hockey East Tournament, as well as numerous concerts and other events. The NCAA’s Frozen Four will be held at the Garden in 2022.

Food & Beverage 4

The concession experience at TD Garden has never been at the forefront of the Bruins game day routine. Over the years, the concessions have improved here in both variety and quality. But be warned that concession prices here are among the highest in the NHL.

Stands at the TD Garden are organized by their menus, so hungry fans may have to do some searching to find what they want. Vegetarian, vegan, kosher and gluten free items are available throughout TD Garden. Slices from Sal’s Pizza are among the most popular items. For some of the more unique items on the menu, head to the Test Kitchen on Level 4. One of the more interesting items new in 21-22 are MingsBings gluten-free pockets available on both the 4th and 7th floor concourses. A more in-depth description of the menu, including a map of all concessions, can be found here. Coca-Cola products are featured at TD Garden.

Fans looking for an adult beverage will have no problem finding what they want at TD Garden. As you might expect, local craft beers are abundant. Brews from local favorites Sam Adams and Harpoon Brewery anchor the selection. For a great selection of local brews, head to the Craft Beer Garden between sections 323 and 324. If you prefer the national brands, those are sold all over the arena as well.

Atmosphere 4

There just seems to be something special about seeing a game in the home of one of the Original Six teams. The Boston area features some of the most rabid fans in the league, and when the black and gold get on a roll, this is one of the loudest venues in the entire National Hockey League.

The recent renovations to TD Garden aim to improve the gameday atmosphere here in Boston. The new scoreboard, dubbed “Hub Vision,” is almost double the size of the old one, and features the highest resolution in both the NHL and NBA. A new sound system was also installed for the 2021-22 season. Concourses are wider, more points of sales have been installed and more restrooms were added. New social areas such as The Rafters Club on Level 9 and the Back Row Bar at the top of the balcony seating area have become favorite spots to mingle with other fans while grabbing a drink.

Veteran hockey fans will find much that is familiar here, with hype videos, dance cams, and contests held during play stoppages. Fans can request what songs play during breaks in the action.

Neighborhood 5

The COVID pandemic has not been kind to several of the legendary eating and drinking establishments surrounding the TD Garden. Several fan favorites, including the Fours and Beer Works, have gone out of business. Longtime fans may bemoan the disappearance of the gritty atmosphere in the area as more upscale choices move in to the neighborhood, but luckily for visiting Bruins fans, there is still no shortage of choices in the area. Bruins fans flock from all over Greater Boston to The Harp, The Greatest Bar, Hurricane’s, and many other fine dining establishments in the immediate area before and after a B’s game.

Walk a few blocks south of the Garden, and you will arrive at Faneuil Hall, a collection of restaurants, shops and clubs that is one of the city’s most popular tourist attractions. Be sure to check out Union Oyster House, Boston’s oldest restaurant and home to what is arguably the city’s best clam chowder. Statues of Celtics legends Red Auerbach and Bill Russell can be found here among all the historic sites.

A short walk from the TD Garden is Boston’s historic North End, the city’s version of “Little Italy.” Boston fans flock to Bruin legend Ray Bourque’s restaurant, Tresca. Be sure to grab a couple of cannolis from Mike’s Pastry while here, or head to Regina’s Pizzeria, one of the top places to get a slice of pizza in the country. Many visiting fans enjoy walking down Hanover Street, taking in the sights and smells.

Fans looking to explore Boston’s rich history can follow the Freedom Trail, a 2.5-mile long brick-lined route that connects 16 of Boston’s most significant historic sites, several of which are near the Garden. This walking tour winds throughout the city and is one of the best ways to explore Boston. Several points of interest near the Garden include the Old North Church, Faneuil Hall and Copp’s Burial Ground.

Fans 5

There is an old adage in American hockey circles that the most knowledgeable, passionate fans in the United States live in the three “M’s” (Massachusetts, Minnesota and Michigan). Greater Boston is one of the most hockey-crazed areas you will find anywhere, with a dedicated fan base that can rival anything found in Canada. The Garden is filled to 100% capacity once again thus far in the 2021-22 season.

The Garden becomes a sea of black and gold for every Bruins home game. Keep your eyes open for the “Bruins Avengers,” a group of super fans who have developed their own cult following. Even the most casual Bruins fan seems to be louder than your typical fan. The Garden is filled with noise, particularly when the Bruins get on a roll. It provides the Bruins with a significant home-ice advantage, and makes the Garden an intimidating arena for visitors. Visiting fans and families can still feel comfortable at a Bruins game, though.

Access 3

For the 2021-22 season, all guests 12 and older are required to provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19 or a qualifying negative COVID-19 test for admission into the TD Garden. Staff will check your documentation before you enter the building. In addition, the city of Boston requires that all guests over the age of two wear a mask while indoors. Compliance with this mandate was observed to be spotty, with only about half the crowd masking up in common areas during Stadium Journey’s visit.

All tickets for Boston Bruins games are now electronic. The arena practices a bag policy, prohibiting all bags larger than 6” x 4” x 1.5”. The facility is cash-free and provides cash to card options for those without plastic. Complete details can be found here.

Boston is certainly not an easy city for visitors to navigate. City streets, which date all the way back to colonial times, are laid out in seemingly random directions. Traffic jams and never-ending construction projects are the norm here. While the Garden is located adjacent to Interstate 93, even the most direct route off the highway (Exit 26) requires several twists and turns to reach the arena.

The best way to get to TD Garden is to take public transportation, known in Boston as the “T.” The arena is located directly on top of the North Station MBTA commuter rail station, bringing in fans from all parts of suburban Boston. For fans taking the subway, both the green and orange lines stop at North Station, right across the street from TD Garden. The $2.75 one-way fare makes the “T” Stadium Journey’s recommendation for avoiding the hassle and cost of driving. Complete information can be found here.

Although there are many options for parking in the area around the Garden it can be quite expensive to park here. There is a 5-level garage located directly underneath the Garden which charges $54 for event parking. There are several surface lots and garages in the immediate area which range from $35-$40 on game night. Despite the Garden’s downtown location, there is little on-street parking to be found.

If you haven’t been to the Garden in a few years, you might not recognize the place. The renovations that had been in progress for several seasons were finally completed in 2019. The focal point of these renovations is the new “front door” to the TD Garden, punctuated by the Bobby Orr statue recreating his Stanley Cup-winning goal from 1970. Restaurants, bars and retail space fill in the new entry plaza, a vast improvement over the old empty lot that was located in front of the Garden for years. In addition, more parking was added in the Garden’s garage, concourse space was increased, additional bathrooms were installed, new seating areas and concessions points were added in the balcony level, and all seating was replaced. A new scoreboard and sound system were installed for the 21-22 season.

Return on Investment 3

Going to a game at TD Garden is one of the most expensive in the National Hockey League. The Bruins utilize variable pricing, placing a premium on weekend games and matchups with traditional rivals. According to StubHub, the average ticket price for a Bruins game is $152. There is a very active secondary market for Bruins tickets, with bargains out there for fans willing to do some comparative shopping.

Adding to the high cost of attending a Bruins game is the cost of parking, which ranges in price from $35-54 and above-average concession prices. For example, purchasing a slice of pizza and a large soda will cost you close to twenty dollars.

Stadium Journey’s recommendation for significantly cutting the cost of attending a Bruins game: take the T and eat at one of the fine restaurants nearby before or after the game.

Extras 4

“The Goal” Statue – A statue commemorating what is perhaps hockey’s most iconic photograph, Bobby Orr’s 1970 Stanley Cup winning goal, stands at the entrance to TD Garden.

Banners – Banners honoring Bruins’ Stanley Cup championships hang from the rafters alongside division, conference, and President’s Trophy banners. Eleven Bruins have had their numbers retired. In addition, there are banners commemorating the annual Beanpot Tournament, held every February, and the Hockey East Tournament, held here every March. There are also all those Celtics championship banners hanging around.

The Sports Museum – Perhaps the greatest hidden sports gem in Boston, it’s a must see for any visiting sports fan. Located on levels 5 and 6 of the Garden, The Sports Museum features items celebrating the city of Boston’s long and storied sports history. Exhibits include the penalty box from the Boston Garden and an open theater with original Garden seats.

History – As you may expect from one of the NHL’s Original Six teams, many sporting events of great importance have occurred here. Oversized wall murals depict iconic moments in Boston Garden and TD Garden history on both concourses.

Final Thoughts

While the TD Garden is never mentioned among the elite venues of the National Hockey League, and the amenities of this now quarter-century old building don’t compare to the league’s newer buildings, there is still something special about coming to an Original Six building. The history, passion and fans in Boston make this a worthy Stadium Journey for any hockey fan.

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