Cam Neely explains why Bruins are focused on TD Garden despite hard look at outdoor games
Neely explains why B's are focused on Garden, despite the scrutiny of the outdoor games that originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
The Boston Bruins considered the possibility of playing some outdoor games during the 2020-21 NHL season, but the team ultimately decided to just focus on returning to TD Garden.
"We looked at this, but it really is - unless you can get a certain number of fans into the building, it didn't really make sense financially," Bruins President Cam Neely told reporters on a Zoom call on Monday.
"Getting the system to play outdoors is a big endeavor. We looked at it carefully, but it seemed like the best way for us to play at TD Garden for now."
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A report from Sportsnet a few weeks ago said the Bruins were among several teams investigating the idea of playing outdoor games. One of the reasons for going this route is to allow fans to participate in games and this would bring much-needed revenue for these teams in a troubled COVID-19 economy.
It would have been cool to see Bruins matchups at Fenway Park or Gillette Stadium in 2021 - similar to the Winter Classic events in 2010 and 2016 - but those setups cost a lot of money, so it's not surprising to hear Neely's explanation for this listen This option didn't make sense at the moment.
When can we expect fans to see the Bruins play in the garden? There is currently no set date. It's up to local and state regulations, but when the time comes, Neely says the garden will be ready.
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"As for the fans in the building, it will depend on city and state regulations and guidelines," Neely said. "I know the staff here in the backstage garden have done a lot of work to make it as fan-friendly as possible and as safe as possible when we're allowed to have fans here to make sure they've been through the protocols - Of course, safety is most important to us.
"A lot of work has been done. So when we get the green light to have fans in the building, everyone should be comfortable watching our games live."
What changes should Bruins fans be prepared for when they get to play games?
"It's really about entering the building, how you enter the building two meters away, how you go up escalators two meters away, where the fans sit, depending on if it's a family. The toilets are equipped with security for protection, just like when ordering concessions - you don't stand in line and order online. Then you are told where to pick it up, "Neely said. "So it really is everything you can think of to protect the fans once they're in the building."
The NHL has not yet released the regular 2020-21 season schedule, but did announce a start date (January 13) and format for the upcoming campaign on Sunday.
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