By: Matt Barry | Follow me on Twitter @oobcards
The Boston Bruins have been to three Stanley Cup Finals since 2011 and continue to be one of the top teams in the National Hockey League. TD Garden has been home to many great moments since opening its doors in 1995. From Raymond Bourque’s game-winning goal in the 1996 NHL All-Star game to Patrice Bergeron’s overtime goal to complete a historic comeback and beat the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 2013 NHL Playoffs, the new building has seen some great hockey.
But I still miss the old Boston Garden. On November 17, 1928, the old Boston Madison Square Garden opened with a prizefight between Boston’s own Dick “Honey Boy” Finnegan defeating Andre Routis. Three nights later, on November 20, 1928, the Boston Bruins played the first hockey game at the Garden, losing 1-0 to the Montreal Canadiens. Some of my greatest sports memories as a kid involved attending Bruins games at the Boston Garden or watching the Bruins on TV-38.
My first game at the old Garden was on March 13, 1980. The Bruins defeated the Detroit Red Wings on that night, 4-2. I remember two things vividly as a seven-year-old, how loud the puck sounded when it hit the glass and how tough Stan Jonathan was. There were other great moments for me in the old barn. I was there the night Cam Neely scored his 50th goal in 44 games against the Washington Capitals. Neely was my favorite player and registered a hat trick that night. Nothing compared to the loud eruption when the Bruins would score in that building.
Playoff games, particularly against the hated Canadiens, were incredible hockey experiences. Bruins fans chanting “Rooooo wahhhhhh” to taunt Canadiens goalie Patrick Roy or Rene Rancourt’s stirring rendition of The Star-Spangled Banner and Oh Canada were staples of Boston Garden playoff hockey. Bruins games are always a great take, but TD Garden has never quite duplicated the environment that fans witnessed at the old Garden. The last time the Bruins won the Stanley Cup on home ice was in 1970, capped by Bobby Orr’s iconic Cup-winning goal against the St. Louis Blues. The “new” Garden has yet to have its signature moment.
Many Hall of Fame players played for the Bruins in the old Boston Garden, which was torn down in 1998. Although the current arena is just nine inches from the old arena, nothing will ever compare to the atmosphere at the original Garden. In many ways, I miss the Garden. I do not miss the poor views in certain areas or the walk up the long ramp, but I do miss what that arena symbolized, and that is the creation of my life-long passion for the Boston Bruins.