By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
The Bruins do not have a definitive timeline to open up TD Garden.
But team president Cam Neely is hoping that there will indeed be a full house at their 17,565-person arena at some point this season.
“Well, we’re certainly hoping for a full house at some point this year,” Neely offered Monday. “I mean, when that is, I don’t know. Is it going to be in in May, June, July? It’s hard to say. Are we going to get fans in the building at some point in January? I’m not sure. February? It’s out of our control. But we have made plans for no fans, a third of fans, half fans, three quarters and then a full house.”
It may seem a long shot, especially after Boston’s Fenway Park and Foxborough’s Gillette Stadium both went through or are going through seasons with zero fans in attendance for their respective teams, but Neely’s hopes are not necessarily unfounded. Not only is the 56-game NHL season set to finish in early May, which is when the COVID-19 vaccines are believed to be closer to being readily available for the general public, but there’s actually been some talk about reopening the Garden from those in charge of such things.
In a radio interview across the street (or across town these days) last week, Mayor Marty Walsh said it was possible for the Garden to host fans as soon as February or March. Walsh has also visited to TD Garden and met with officials to get a better feel for the safety procedures the arena will implement upon their eventual opening. (It’s certainly worth mentioning that Boston has phased backwards in recent weeks due to a recent uptick in coronavirus cases.)
Neely and the Bruins are doing just about everything they can to ensure a safe environment when finally opened, too.
“It’s really [about] entering the building,” Neely said of the protocol changes at TD Garden. “How to enter the building six feet apart, how to go up escalators six feet apart, where do the fans sit depending on if it’s a family, restrooms are certainly outfitted for protection, same with ordering concessions. It’s not standing up there waiting in line, it’s ordering online and then you’re told where to go pick it up.
“It’s really everything you can think of to help protect the fans once they’re in the building.”
The Bruins have sold out every home game since Dec. 2, 2009.