MUSIC - Houseparty by the J. Geils band
T.D. Garden - Opened in 1995 and is still in use. Known as Shawmut Center 1995, FleetCenter 1995 - 2005, TD Banknorth Garden 2005 - 2009, TD Garden 2009 - present.
Location - 100 Legends Way, Boston, Massachusetts. Located literally 10 feet north from where the old Boston Garden once stood.
Built literally in the shadows of the antiquated Boston Garden, the Fleet Center was opened in 1995. The new arena was more modern than the old garden and had all the perks that new buildings have. They moved the famed parquet floor for the Celtics, as well as the banners. They did not however bring over the mystique of the old Garden. Opponents HATED going into the old Boston Garden, with its cramped locker rooms, lack of hot water, and rabid fan base.
The new Fleet center opened on September 30, 1995, with a huge opening night gala. The previous night saw the old Boston Garden close forever with an exhibition hockey game between the Bruins and the Montreal Canadiens. The first Bruins game in the new center was on October 7th 1995. The game with the New York Islanders ended in a 4-4 tie. For the record, the first goal in the new building was scored by the Bruins Sandy Moger. The first Bruin win would come two nights later when the Bees defeated the Buffalo Sabres 5-3. The winning goalie was Blaine Lacher, who also started in net in the first game. The Celtics inaugurated the Fleet center on November 3rd 1995 against the Milwaukee Bucks. The outcome was not in the Celtics favor, as they lost 101-100. Rick Fox led the way for the Celtics with 19 points while future Celtic, Vin Baker had 30 for Milwaukee.
The Fleet center started out as the Shawmut center, but was quickly changed to the Fleet Center. For the next 10 years, this was what the building was known as. In 2005, a series of events led to numerous name changes. Finally on July 1, 2005, the name was finally official. It is now known as the T.D. Banknorth garden. The garden part plays homage to the old Boston Garden, which stood literally 12 feet from the new center. Boston Garden could not be imploded and had to be demolished the old fashioned way.
The two main tenants are of course the Boston Celtics of the NBA, and the Boston Bruins of the NHL. The Boston beanpot hockey tournament made the move to the new building also. The usual culprits that arenas host have all been seen under the arena's roof. The rock group U2 had seven sold out shows on their "how to dismantle an atomic bomb" tour. Fortunately, the Celtics retained their parquet floor. Two other arenas now have the same type of floor. The Target center in Minneapolis and the Amway arena in Orlando.
Seating is a lot more comfortable in the new digs, as opposed to the old Garden. Sightlines are somewhat better, meaning no obstructed views, such as poles or balconies in your face. It is easier to get in and out of, but it does not have the aura that the old Garden had. That is no slight at the new building. Every team that moved out of a historic arena or stadium has had the same things said about it too. It's too early to determine how much home ice or court advantage the new garden has. In the scheme of things, the TD Banknorth garden is a baby. The old Boston garden was legendary. The new building is just learning to walk.
My nephew Evan in front of the Bobby Orr statue. 8/13
Causeway Street and the front of the old Garden to the left (black fence). 8/13