Behind the Scenes of the Bruins and the Celtics

Roy Mackenzie | July 28, 2016

Whether you’re a Boston sports fan or not, The Sports Museum – conveniently located on the second floor of TD Garden, across from North Station – is worth the visit.  While it is home to memorabilia, fun facts, and anecdotes any fan would enjoy, The Sports Museum gives you a behind the scenes tour through the Garden.  You get to go places you didn’t think you were allowed to unless you were a professional athlete, and with our pass, it’s all completely FREE.

TD GardenWhen I arrived at the Garden, I was directed to the second floor to the ProShop where I found a group of people milling about, waiting for the tour to begin.  Our tour-guide – a young, perky college student – arrived and told us we chose the right time to take the tour.  Because they were in the off-season, we were going to experience more of the Garden and get to go places they usually don’t let people go.  We made our way to a freight elevator where we were taken to a storage area.  Here we got to see the parquet floor stacked in the corner and the goals they use during Bruins’ practices and games (the ones for games have special cameras attached and a spot to hold the goalie’s water bottle).  We also learned that the Zambonis get into the building via the “Elephant Ramp,” a ramp that wraps around the building in a slow incline to allow elephants to get inside (it was built with the circus in mind).

Next stop: the locker rooms.  While we didn’t actually get to enter the locker rooms of the Bruins and Celtics (our tour-guide said even she wasn’t allowed in there), we got to go into the locker rooms used by visiting teams (and Beyonce…she used it as a dressing room for her last concert there).  I got to actually sit in the “Kobe seat” – the bench they reserve in the visiting team’s locker room for star players to give interviews.  We were even allowed to sneak into the bathrooms and see how high the showers are to accommodate the tall athletes.

As though we were athletes leaving the locker room to get in the game, we were ushered out onto the court.  The view of all the stands from the court was spectacular.  Our tour guide informed us that the ice is created in three layers.  They first do a base white layer, then the second has the Bruin’s logo on it, and then they put a top coat to seal it all in.  The ice is actually about three quarters of an inch thick (insane, right?!).  They have pipes of coolant under the ice to keep it frozen, and put the parquet on top of the ice for the Celtics.  There is always one day each season where the Bruins and Celtics both have home games, so they have to immediately build the parquet on top of the ice as soon as the Bruins are done.  Their record time in doing this was two hours and ten minutes and it took about 300 people.

The rest of the tour took us up to the VIP areas and suites where we got to look at the retired gear and artifacts from famous players and coaches.  We heard intriguing stories about the history of both teams – like how Red Auerbach supposedly used to turn off the hot water in the visiting team’s locker room and made their benches shorter so as to fatigue the tall athletes’ knees.  Personally, I am not a sports fan, and yet I managed to have fun and learn a lot at The Sports Museum.  I would recommend a visit because it gives you an in-depth look into one of Boston’s well known landmarks and the history of two of our beloved teams.