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Boston Garden
The Garden
Boston Garden Exterior.jpg
Location 150 Causeway Street, Boston, Massachusetts, 02114
Opened November 17, 1928
Closed September 28, 1995
Demolished November, 1997
Owner Delaware North Companies
Operator Delaware North Companies
Surface Ice / Parquet Floor
Construction cost $4 million
Architect Tex Rickard
Former names Boston Madison Square Garden
Tenants Boston Bruins (NHL) (1928–1995)
Boston Braves (AHL) (1971–1974)
New England Whalers (WHA) (1972–1974)
Beanpot (1954-1995)
Capacity Ice Hockey: 13,909
Basketball: 14,890

The Boston Garden was a famous arena finished on November 17, 1928 in Boston, Massachusetts. Designed by boxing promoter Tex Rickard, who also built the third incarnation of New York's Madison Square Garden, the arena was originally called the "Boston Madison Square Garden", but eventually got clipped to the Boston Garden. It would eventually outlive its original namesake by some 30 years. Located on top of North Station, a train station, which is a hub for Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) Commuter Rail and Amtrak trains, the Garden hosted home games for the Boston Bruins and Boston Celtics, as well as rock concerts, amateur sports, boxing and wrestling cards, circuses and ice shows. It was also used as an exposition hall for political rallies such as the famous speech by John F. Kennedy in November, 1960. The Boston Garden was demolished in 1997, a few years after the completion of its new successor arena, the FleetCenter, which will be called TD Garden beginning in July 2009.


Tex Rickard built the arena specifically with boxing in mind, believing that every seat should be close enough to see the "sweat on the boxers' brows." Because of this design theme, when the larger hockey and basketball playing areas were used, fans were much closer to the players than in most arenas, leading to a distinct hometown advantage. The closeness also created spectacular acoustic effects; one legendary story had a lone fan, sitting in the cheapest seats in the arena, harassing Bruins player Ed Westfall from across the length of the ice, and Westfall turning and giving him "the finger". When teams made playoff appearances, and a sold out crowd was chanting or screaming, the impact was enormous.

Opening night at the Boston Garden, November 20, 1928.

During the 1980s, the Boston Garden was known as the most difficult sporting venue for visiting sports team to visit. The Boston Celtics dominance at home, especially during the mid-80s helped to create this aura. During the 1986 season, the Celtics were 40-1 at home, setting the NBA record for home court mastery. They also finished the post season undefeated at home. Combined with the following regular season, the Celtics Garden record was an amazing 79-3 between the 1985-86 and 1986-87 regular seasons.


Boston Garden interior, showing the Bruins' banners.

The Garden's hockey rink was undersized as it was nine feet shorter and two feet narrower than standard (200 feet by 85 feet), due to the rink being built at a time when the NHL did not have a standard size for rinks. The setup threw visiting players off their games. Its visitor's dressing room was notoriously small, hot, and under served by plumbing; the Los Angeles Lakers developed a special hatred for it. Rats made the bowels of the Garden their home.

The Garden had no air conditioning, resulting in fog forming over the ice during Bruins' playoff games. During Game 5 of the 1984 NBA Finals, the 97-degree heat was so intense that oxygen tanks were provided to exhausted players; to this day this game is known as the "Heat Game."

The electrical systems were notoriously unreliable; the Bruins' last two Stanley Cup finals appearances were both disrupted by power outages. On May 24, 1988 a power transformer blew up during Game 4 of the finals series between the Bruins and the Edmonton Oilers: the contest officially ended in a 3–3 tie. However the power-outage had nothing to do with the Garden; a transformer in the North End knocked out power to all areas, including the Garden. Two years later, on May 15, 1990, the lights went out during an overtime finals game between the same two teams, only because they'd been on for so long (the game went to 3 overtimes and lasted 6 hours) Luckily, the lights were turned back on this time, and Game 1 of the series ended with a 3–2 triple overtime win for the visiting Oilers.

Notable Events


The facility hosted games in the 1929, 1930, 1939, 1941, 1943, 1946, 1953, 1957, 1958, 1970, 1972, 1974, 1977, 1978, 1988, and 1990 Stanley Cups, the 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1968, 1969, 1974, 1976, 1981, 1984, 1985, 1986, and 1987 NBA Finals, the NBA All-Star Game in 1951, 1952, 1957, and 1964, and the NHL All-Star Game in 1971. The NCAA Frozen Four was contested there from 1972 to 1974.

Boston Garden was the first arena to host the Stanley Cup Finals and NBA Finals at the same time in 1957. It would achieve the feat again in 1958 and 1974.

On February 6, 1978 some 11,666 college-hockey fans were in attendance for the the 26th edition of the annual "Beanpot" college ice hockey tournament, held at the time of a blizzard's outbreak, found weather much different from what they had expected. Some spectators spent the next few days living at the arena, eating hot dogs, and sleeping in the bleachers and locker rooms. Because of the Blizzard, the second round of the Beanpot that year was not held until March 1, 1978, the latest date ever for the tournament's concluding games. About the only person that made it home was the Garden's PA announcer Weldon Haire who lived nearby. The city would receive a then record of 27.1 inches of snowfall along with hurricane force winds that closed much of New England for about a week.

Final Years

By the early 1990s, Boston Garden had largely outlived its usefulness. The building had no air conditioning and many seats were obstructed by structural pillars. The seats themselves were decades old and terribly cramped. With a capacity of less than 15,000, it was one of the smallest sports arenas in the country. The Garden also lacked luxury suites, which had become a major source of revenue for teams in all professional sports and a veritable necessity. In 1991, preliminary planning began for the construction of a new arena in Boston.

An agreement was finally reached for a new 18,000 seat arena to be built just north of the Boston Garden. Construction began on April 29, 1993. Fleet Bank purchased the naming rights for the new building, and the new FleetCenter opened in October 1995. As of July, 2009 it will be named TD Garden.

The last official game played at the Garden took place on Sunday, May 14, 1995. It was Game 5 of an NHL Eastern Conference Quarter-final series between the Boston Bruins and New Jersey Devils. The Devils edged the Bruins, 3–2, winning the series 4 games to 1. The last event ever to be held at the Boston Garden was a preseason game between the Boston Bruins and the Montreal Canadiens on September 28, 1995. The Garden sat vacant for almost two years before it was demolished in 1997. The site where the building once stood is now a parking lot.

Frank Fallon and then Weldon Haire would serve as PA announcers for much of the arena's extistence


Preceded by
Boston Arena
Home of the
Boston Bruins

1928 – 1995
Succeeded by
TD Garden
Preceded by
Boston Arena
Home of the
New England Whalers

1972 – 1974
Succeeded by
Hartford Civic Center
Preceded by
St. Louis Arena
Host of the
NHL All-Star Game

Succeeded by
Metropolitan Sports Center
Preceded by
Onondaga War Memorial
Syracuse, New York
Host of the
Frozen Four

Succeeded by
St. Louis Arena
St. Louis, Missouri

This page uses content from Wikipedia. The original article was at Boston Garden. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with Ice Hockey Wiki, the text of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License 3.0 (Unported) (CC-BY-SA).