It took 8.100 tons of steel and 160 million dollars to construct the new Fleet Center in
Boston but no amount of materials or money will ever be able to construct an arena that
would be able to live up to the old Boston Garden in the minds of most sports-fans in
Beantown. Together with the Chicago Stadium, the Montreal Forum and Maple Leaf
Gardens the Boston Garden was one of the last historical arenas being used in pro-sports,
and when the future arrived right adjacent to the old arena with the Fleet Center on the
30th of September 1995 many Bruins-fans lost their beloved arena and got a
state-of-the-art replacement right next door.
But if you put all sentimental feelings aside the Fleet Center is really able to shine by
comparison with many other new buildings around the world. The surrounding infrastructure
for public transportation is great (parking is a problem though), there is not a single
bad seat in the house and with itīs steep construction itīs still one of the more
exciting arenas around. Besides Bruins Hockey and Celtics Basketball the arena is also
being used for many other events a modern arena can host, no matter wether itīs a Disney
Show, pro-wrestling or concerts.
Hockey-wise the arena hasnīt seen any great cup-runs by the Bruins so far but in 1998 the
NCAA Hockey Championships and in 1999 the NHL draft took place there. The year 2001 also
brought the U.S. Figure Skating Championships to New England, so all in all the Fleet
Center itself has been a real success.
With a seating capacity of 17.565 for hockey and up to 19.600 for other events the arena
is of medium size when compared to other new constructions of the 90s around the league.
In addition to this there are 104 executive- and 4 promenade suits in the building, 2.500
of the 17.565 seats are sold as club seats in addition to that. Anyways, due to the rather
smaller size all seats provide a great view and due to the steep construction as mentioned
before you have the feeling of sitting right on top of the action even if youīre close to
the ceiling of the building. I also think that the design of the interior, basically
everything is kept at least in part yellow inside the arena, adds a bit to the Fleet
Center and differs it a bit from many same-looking buildings in the NHL (even though one
could argue that itīs the same building as everywhere else but with yellow seats). Maybe
I am a fanatic for yellow but I really liked the look of the arena a lot more than in a
number of other arenas I have seen so far. I donīt really like the third jersey of the
Bruins though so not everything thatīs yellow captures my fascination...
Besides the yellow design and the steep construction everything else at the arena has to
be considered NHL-standard. The food is okay and too expensive (like everywhere), the
game-magazine is an overpriced advertisement-brochure (like everywhere) and a mascot is
running around in the concourses prior to the game and attacking little children who for
some reason have real expressions of joy on their faces when the stuffed (well, stuffed
with a poor and sweating human being) Bruin crosses their path. I prefer seeing Sergei
Samsonov striding through the defense and putting a puck right under the crossbar but I
guess that has something to do with age. I also believed in Santa Claus a long time ago
until I found it suspicious that Santa Claus is able to deliver everywhere at the same
time. Not even UPS would get that done on a national holiday, even though it would make a
great theme for a commercial. Just call 1-800-Fed-Ex (donīt want to be one-sided here,
actually wanted to have my bike transported by UPS from Italy to Germany once and would
like to state that they, too, just as the concession stands at the Fleet Center, are way
overpriced), the official carrier of Santa Claus, and when you order two deliveries get a
third one for free, well, doesnīt really have a lot to do with the Fleet Center and I
guess I might have to switch tracks here again soon before the attention-span of the
normal arena-interested reader has passed. Just for the case that you still believed in
Santa I would like to apologize for ruining that believe here, I wonīt be so cruel to
tell Bruins-fans that the dream of seeing a Boston-player hoisting the Stanley Cup is just
as far-fetched as the whole Santa Claus-affair, in the end I donīt want to be responsible
for mass-suicides when half of Boston decides to jump down the John Hancock-tower. If
youīre still interested in suicide though the John Hancock-tower offers a great fall and
a spectacular view on Boston. Due to itīs height it also comes with a success-guarantee
so basically nothing can go wrong with your flight. Oh well, maybe there is really a Santa
Claus, the Bruins will win all cups in the future history of the NHL and one of the
advisors of George W. Bush will tell him during a visit to Boston that a jump from the
John Hancock-tower would provide a great boost for his career. One should never loose
Oh yes, this is an online-arena-guide, I forgot, so what about visiting a museum while
youīre there in Boston? The Sports Museum of New England is located inside the Fleet
Center and normally opened from 10 am to 5 pm on every day of the week besides Sunday,
when it opens up at 12. I didnīt go there myself so I canīt tell you wether the museum
is worth the 6 dollars admission it will cost you but if itīs a rainy day and you have
nothing to do and there is a game at the Fleet that evening anyways it might be worth a
look. It might also still be a waste of money though....
Tips for visitors:
From all the cities in the United States that I have visited so far Boston clearly has to
be considered one of the top towns to see. With lots of interesting historical sites to
visit and with a slight european touch to the city there are not a whole lot of cities I
would recommend to visit
before Boston (well, New York of course but New York is one of the most interesting cities
in the world and not really compareable to Boston even though I would probably prefer to
live in the later if I would have to choose between the two).
Boston can also be a very interesting city to visit as I had to discover when I went there
for a day. Coming in by bus from Manhatten I ended up at the bus depot in the southern
part of downtown Boston. My Boston-experience really shot into first gear when I left the
bus-terminal and passed by a construction site in front of it. Anyways, the first two
people I saw in Boston happened to be two construction workers and as I walked by they not
only started yelling at each other (which was rather funny), no, it even ended up in a
pretty good fist-fight another worker had to stop after a couple of good blows were
exchanged. Coming into Boston I expected to see a fight at the hockey-game but I didnīt
think that it would already take place the minute I stepped into town. I guess Marty
McSorely left his footprints in the mind of most Bostonians.
When I continued to make my strides through Boston I also happened to walk through Public
Gardens, the Boston-version of Central Park. From my experience with other parks in other
cities (hey, what about a public-park-guide?) I already knew how human beings behave on
the first days of spring when the temperature moves up and everybody is all smiles and
enjoys the first warm rays of sun. Well, there were also those baseball-playing
college-students and those book-reading book-readers in the park, in addition to that t
here was also this person:
As you can probably imagine this day in Boston started to get really interesting at this
sight but everything afterwards turned out to be pretty much what you expect when youīre
a tourist in an interesting town. I walked along the Freedom Trail (red walking-line
throughout historical Boston passing by many historical sites), witnessed menthally
underprivileged workers at McDonalds bitching to each other about whoīs turn it was to
clean up a bit and went to a game of the Bruins. Everything was quiet normal until I
finally ended up at the bus-station around 1 am again in order to travel back to New York
City. Leaning against a pole and waiting for the bus to arrive a man approached me and
sincerely asked me, where he was. He had to call home and had no idea in which city he had
landed, I would guess he was travelling from A to B with a layover in Boston. I donīt
really want to attack anybody personally but standing at a bus-depot in downtown Boston
where theyīre also so friendly to put the word "Boston" on many signs here and
there one shouldnīt really have problems to recognize the city with a quick glance
around. I was also able to listen in to his phone-conversation at a pay-phone right next
to me and can only state that this poor being didnīt get his share of brain-cells when he
was born, I doubt he got any....
After this little rant about my very interesting and exciting trip to Boston I might also
drop some tips for visiting hockey-games in Boston. For many years tickets for the Bruins
were very hard to get, this changed dramatically when the team moved to the new Fleet
Center. As far as I can recall they sold out almost all games at their new home in the
first year, but in the last 3-4 seasons sellouts where the exception and not the expected.
Nevertheless I would still recommend you to order tickets in advance as long as itīs not
a game against great franchises like Columbus or the Islanders. There is a slight chance
that Boston might turn into a competitive team again anytime soon after missing the
playoffs for the first time since 1967 in 1999/2000. 2000/2001 wasnīt really a lot better
and all plans for a sixth Stanley Cup parade in Boston will have to be put on ice for a
while but still, as soon as the team starts to pile up some wins again I am sure that
attendance will also increase, Boston is still the 6th largest market in the United States
and the sleeping fan-potential ought to be rather good. Tickets can be ordered in advance
at Ticketmaster, a link to them can be found at the end of this article.
Seat-wise I can basically recommend all seats in the house, the price dictates the
distance to the ice but no place is too far removed so that you canīt see the puck
anymore. I found that a lot of many people were wearing Bruins-jerseys or other
Bruins-stuff compared to many other NHL arenas I have visited so far and I would also say
that the atmosphere was actually rather good during the game (there was no fight in the
game though). There appeared to be a rather high number of no-shows (tickets that are sold
but remain unused) in the lower bowl of the sold-out arena and I had read somewhere before
that this is rather common in Boston. I donīt want to get nailed to a cross if this
statement is wrong so I wonīt say that this is the case for all games. If anybody can say
something smart concerning this issue please e-mail me about it, I will add the info to
All in all I can only strongly recommend a trip to Boston. Where else do you get a great
city, boxing construction-site-workers, funny people strolling through a park as in the
picture above and good hockey-games at a nice yellow arena in one package?
Seating-chart of the Fleet Center
Seating-chart provided by www.eishockey.com.
Directions to the FleetCenter
The FleetCenter is located in Boston's Downtown North section on Causeway Street, minutes
from the historic North End and Faneuil Hall. Ticketed patrons should enter the
FleetCenter on Nashua Street or on New Accolon Way.
From the North:
From Central New Hampshire and Northwestern Massachusetts: Follow Interstate 93 South to
Boston. Take Exit 26/Storrow Drive. Bear right at the fork, and follow the signs toward
North Station. The FleetCenter will be immediately on your left.
From the East:
From Eastern New Hampshire and Northeastern Massachusetts: Take Interstate 95 South to
Route 1 South. Follow Route 1 across the Tobin Bridge and merge onto Interstate 93. Follow
directions above from Exit 26/Storrow Drive.
From the South:
Follow Route 95 North to Route 93 to Boston. Take Exit 25/Causeway Street. At the bottom
of the ramp, take a left. Stay in the right lane and drive past the Boston Garden and the
Tip O'Neill Federal Building. The FleetCenter is behind the Boston Garden and the Tip
From the West:
Follow the Massachusetts Turnpike to Route 93 North Expressway to Boston. Take Exit
25/Causeway Street. At the bottom of the ramp, take a left. Stay in the right lane and
drive past the Boston Garden and the Tip O'Neill Federal Building. The FleetCenter is
behind the Boston Garden and the Tip O'Neill Building.
From Logan Airport:
By Public Transportation: Take the Blue Line inbound (4 stops) to
Government Center and then switch to the Green Line eastbound (2 stops) to the North
By Car: Exit the airport and follow signs to the Sumner Tunnel toward
Boston. There will be a $1.00 toll when traveling from the airport into Boston. Once
through the tunnel, take the ramp to Route 93 North to Boston. Take Exit 25/Causeway
Street. At the bottom of the ramp, take a left. Stay in the right lane and drive past the
Boston Garden and the Tip O'Neill Federal Building. The FleetCenter is behind the Boston
Garden and the Tip O'Neill Building.
By Public Transportation:
Green & Orange Lines: Take either line to the North Station stop,
which brings you across the street from the FleetCenter.
Red Line: Take Red Line to the Park Street stop and switch to Green
Line Eastbound (3 stops) to the North Station stop.
Blue Line: Take Blue Line to the Government Center stop and then switch to the
Green Line Eastbound (2 stops) to the North Station stop.
Commuter Rail: Take Purple Line stopping at North Station. Escalators at North
Station will take you directly into the FleetCenter.
From South Station: Take the Red Line (2 stops) to the Park Street stop
and switch to Green Line Eastbound (3 stops) to the North Station stop.
The FleetCenter does not own nor operate any local parking facilities. However, there are
several area parking lots and garages available. The closest is the 1,150-space,
five-level parking garage located directly underneath the FleetCenter. The garage is
managed by the MBTA and is accessible via Nashua Street. Elevators located in the parking
garage will bring you directly to the North Station train platform area, located in the
FleetCenter. For more information on the MBTA parking garage, please call (617) 222-3042.
There is also a satellite parking lot located across the street from the FleetCenter.
Links to the team:
Homepage of the Bruins: www.bostonbruins.com