Thursday night in front of a gathering of many individuals, who have supported the project, the official grand opening of the Boston Bruins’ new state-of-the-art training facility took place. Jeremy and Charlie Jacobs, along with Cam Neely were joined by members of the New Balance organization and politicians, all of whom were involved in the building in which they now stood.
With Andy Brickley acting as emcee, all assembled talked on the long road from vision to conception while a number of Bruins players sat on the ice watching. A contingent of young players—appropriately dressed in black and gold—waited patiently on the bench for their moment to take the ice with Bruins alumni to play the official first game in the new building.
New Balance’s chairman Jim Davis and managing director Jim Halliday spoke eloquently of the five-year project and many of those who worked hard to take a dream and create the reality.
Also present and speaking were Boston’s Mayor Marty Walsh; the Governor of Massachusetts, Charlie Baker; and Speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives, Robert A. DeLeo. The project, of which Warrior Ice Arena is one piece, involved not only private companies, but also the city of Boston and the state. In addition to the arena and a new, and larger, headquarters for the American-made New Balance athletic shoes and fitness apparel company, the area will also have a new commuter rail stop on the MBTA Framingham-Worcester Line.
Governor Baker shared a glimpse of his childhood, talking about his watching the Big Bad Bruins play. He described taking his radio to his room with him to be able to keep listening to the game when he was supposed to be going to bed. He addressed the geared-up, and well-behaved children on the bench when he began his short address, encouraging them to make a little noise with some stick taps on the boards.
As House Speaker DeLeo was closing out his speech he also addressed the young players on the bench, talking of the opportunity they were about to experience but then doing his best to mold their collegiate choices by encouraging them to go to Northeastern University, reminding those present of the Huskies’ Hockey East tournament win.
Mayor Walsh started his short speech by saying it would be short for two reasons. The first was that he was the only thing between the kids on the bench and the ice for their game. His second reason was that he alluded to Dorchester-native and Bruins player Jimmy Hayes giving him a “keep it short” look, which got a laugh. As he was drawing to a close, he showed that team loyalty and rivalry are strong in Boston as he suggested that the kids should consider donning the maroon and gold jersey of Boston College Eagles, suggesting that DeLeo was misguided with his recommendation. This also got a laugh.
The comments shared by the politicians spoke volumes to the importance of the Bruins to the community while also vocalizing how important the community was to the Bruins as well. Warrior Ice Arena is going to play a role in the Bruins’ present and future, but also in the community as youth groups will play games there and the arena will also play host to public skates and learn to play programs.
The Boston Bruins are certainly back in Boston, and the city’s love of hockey is just as certainly alive and well.