Greater Boston embraces Bruins’ return to roots
BRIGHTON — Imagine a kid skating on the same ice as the Bruins in the Boston area. For the last 30 years, the only place to do that was on Causeway Street — through Mini 1-on-1 or a quick game during one of the intermissions.
Now that the Bruins have moved into their new training facility at Warrior Ice Arena, that dream is now a reality.
As part of the Grand Opening festivities on Thursday night, youth hockey All-Star teams from the Boston area, including Dorchester, Allston and Brighton, got their first chance to skate with select Bruins alumni, including Bob Sweeney and Rick Middleton, on the same ice as the current crop of Black and Gold members.
Those dreams go as far back as the Big Bad Bruins of the 1970’s where Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker envisioned skating on the same ice as Bobby Orr and Phil Esposito as he stated during the opening ceremonies. Having their training facility in Boston can make those dreams of today’s skating on the same ice as Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and company closer to reality for kids in Greater Boston.
“It’s very cool,” said East Longmeadow native Frank Vatrano on the youngsters from the Boston area skating on the ice for the first time at the rink within a stone’s throw of the Mass. Turnpike.
“From Jimmy Hayes and Matt Grzcelyk and the guys in the organization being from Mass. it’s great. And, you know, seeing those little kids get on the same ice that we skate on, that’s what I dreamed of as a little kid growing up just like those guys, and that’s being a Boston Bruin someday. Now to see them out there where we skate on is cool and that’s something that they’ll always remember.”
That was just a small sample of things to come for the Boston hockey community. In addition to youth hockey programs occupying Warrior Ice Arena’s schedule, the state of the art 75,000 square foot facility will also house high school games, the NWHL’s Boston Pride and adult hockey leagues like StinkySocks Hockey.
“The fact that this is accessible…not just in Allston and Brighton, but Greater Boston, I think that sends a great message to everyone saying ‘you guys come here to Warrior [Ice] Arena where you can play and practice,” said Bruins CEO Charlie Jacobs. “This is a great rink. It’s such a beautiful sheet of ice, and it’s in such a great location too.”
The new practice home of the Bruins is part of the Boston Landing project. Over time, the development will include a new training facility for the Celtics, a track and field center, a commuter rail station on the Framingham/Worcester line, hotel and apartment complexes and retail space.
It was a long time coming. After years of planning and construction, the Bruins can train again in their rightful neighborhood. It’s something that the B’s and the rest of the Boston hockey community can celebrate.