Boston Bruins

BOSTON, MA - JUNE 7: Boston Bruins fans react as a penalty is called against the New York Islanders in the second period in Game Five of the Second Round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs at TD Garden on June 7, 2021 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

This latest round of COVID outbreaks have made it feel like the National Hockey League is going backwards.

Prior to the league’s shutdown through the holiday break, the Maple Leafs and Senators had decided to reduce capacity to 50 percent at their arenas, while the Canadiens went ahead with an empty-arena game ahead of their postponed meeting with the Bruins.

That’s something that the Bruins, who have been operating at full capacity on home ice since the start of the second round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs, hopes doesn’t make its way to Boston when the Bruins ultimately resume action.

“I haven’t heard anything, so, we’ll see,” Neely said when asked about reducing capacity at TD Garden. “I know that they’ve issued some city mandates that we’ve got to start following by January 15, but reduced capacity, I haven’t heard that.

“I certainly hope that’s not going to be the case.”

As noted by Neely, the Garden will begin to require proof of vaccine to enter the building beginning Jan. 15.

Currently, masks (unless eating or drinking) along with proof of a COVID-19 vaccine or qualifying negative COVID-19 test are required for all guests 12 years and older entering TD Garden.

But beginning Jan. 15, guests aged 12 and older will need to show proof of at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, with proof of a negative test and nothing else no longer gaining you access to the building. A month later (Feb. 15, to be exact), guests 12 and older will have to show proof of either one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine in one-dose series or two doses in a two-dose series.

On Mar. 1, that will extend to guests aged 5-11 showing proof of at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, while all guests five years of age and older will have to show proof of full vaccination status beginning May 1.

Those changes are all part of Mayor Michelle Wu’s ‘B Together’ vaccine requirement plans for the City of Boston.

But as it relates to capacity, the Bruins hope to avoid any sort of limitations, which were lifted at the end of the team’s first-round playoff series against the Capitals last May. During that stretch, the Bruins were permitted to have just over 4,500 fans in attendance, which was an uptick from the 2,100 and change they reopened with beginning Mar. 25, 2021. This was after the Bruins played the first 11 games of the 56-game 2021 season without fans in attendance.

With the team’s Dec. 27 home tilt against the Penguins postponed to a later date, the Bruins will have to wait until New Year’s Day to get back on Garden ice. And with 17,850 fans in the stands.

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Ty Anderson is a writer and columnist for Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Yell at him on Twitter: @_TyAnderson.