For the Boston Bruins’ 2009 / 2010 season my friend and I went in on a 10 pack of “hungry for hockey” tickets to the Boston Bruins. For $69 per ticket we got unlimited eats at the Garden and seats in section 328 row 10. They were fine seats and eats, but after some deliberation we decided for the 2010 / 2011 season to get the full season ticket package instead. We rather see more games and forgo the eats and sit a bit higher up in the cheaper seats. So when the Bs had their select-a-seat event, we went to see where we could move our seats to. We moved from section 328 to section 312 which had four things going for it: better cell reception (at the time of the select-a-seat event), it is the side the Bruins shoot twice at, there is a Dunkin Donuts right by our section and a quick exit out of the stadium.
So we did it – we got a full 41 game season ticket package (though technically one home game was played in Prague so only 40 home games): section 312, row 14 seats 10 & 9 were ours for the 2010 / 11 season. Here is the view from our section:
As you can see we are one row from the back wall, but have a great view of the ice. Going to Garden for every single game, we learned a few things:
- Drunks: watch out for spilled beer. Even though the Garden charges $7.50 per cheap beer, the plastic cups are filled right to the brim and people still buy them. And spill the beer everywhere. On the floor behind you, on the same floor, above you as they hold them. . .so if you bring stuff to the Garden, either bring a plastic bag to hold it in or be able to wash it after the game.
- Driving in: If you want a quick exit, don’t park within 1/4 mile of the Garden – and that includes at North Station – for there are pedestrians everywhere after the game. And cops. And the cops will stop the traffic if the pedestrians don’t. We part outside Boston at a T station parking garage and take the T – the Boston subway system – into the city. The orange line stops right at the Garden / North Station. Parking at the T parking garages varies but only goes up to $7 per day. . .Unless you want to park at North Station. Event parking is $25. If you take the T into the game, get a plastic Charlie card – ask any T agent for one and they should be able to give you one for free. You can then use the machines at the station to put money on the card using a credit card, debit card or cash. The cost of the T with a plastic charlie card is $1.70 vs the $2.00 per fare with a charlie ticket. Plus, the charlie card is a lot easier to just swipe at the kiosk rather then put the ticket in and wait for it to spit it out.
- Taking the T. This ties into the above. When you do take the T at North Station, please figure out how to work your charlie card or charlie ticket prior to getting to the front of the line. Please ensure you have enough money on it to use the T. One of my biggest gripes are people that get to the front of the line, don’t know what they’re doing or don’t have enough money on their card. . .Then once they do get through the turnstile, they stand right on the other side waiting for their buddies or trying to figure out which way to go. Do this before you’re standing in the way of a ton of people trying to get to the T. Having taking the T in and out for the entire season, I know where to stand on the platform in order to get into the car that is closest to where we will be getting out to make our connecting T stop or the stairs / escalator to our vehicle in the parking garage.
- Doors open one hour before the game. If you get their approximately 1.5 hours before the game, you’ll be the first in line – or at least close enough to the front that it doesn’t matter. The guards won’t let you stand right at the glass that blocks the escalators going up, but you can stand close enough. Once they do move the glass, it is another 15 minutes before they’ll let you up, which is the 1 hour prior to the game starting. They’ll let enough of the crowd up the escalator / stairs to fill the top section where the ticket scanner ushers are located then stop people coming up the escalators. We’ve found out that if you show up 15 – 30 minutes after the doors open, you can pretty much walk right in with minimal lines, and still make it in time to see the pre-game warm-up. After the pre-game warm-up the Zamboni will clean the ice again, teams are introduced, announcements made. You aren’t missing much if you don’t show up until 10 to 5 minutes before the start of the game.
- Pro-Shop: the pro-shop is located on the same level as the commuter rail and the escalators up to the Garden. Don’t worry about jamming in that super small space with 200 other fans prior to or after the game. Up in the Garden there are stores that sell other Bruins and Celtics items – pretty much the same stuff that you can get in the pro-shop. The one thing you won’t find in those stores that the pro-shop has are used hockey sticks.
- Roster: when you finally get up to the main level, there are “ice girls” handing out game day rosters. They’re basically posters that are 11″ x 14″. Bring an elastic and a plastic grocery bag if you want to keep the roster. You can roll it up and then put it in the grocery bag. This will keep it from getting crushed and will keep it dry from any spilled beer.
- Jumbotron: If you want to get on the jumbotron, just dance around and they’ll probably put you on it for a few seconds. If you make a sign – please ensure that the letters aren’t yellow, unless they are on a black background, for they’ll be too hard to read. Don’t move your sign around – it is harder to read when it is moving. And for the love of pete, be aware that there are people sitting beside you and behind you that want to see what is going on – they don’t want to see your backs as you stand on your seat dancing, nor do they want to see the back of your sign for that long. Though if you make your sign double sided, that would please the fans behind you as they would be able to read it.
- Gallery: Sitting waaaaaaay up in the gallery (the 300 section) as we do, you’ll have to be used to heights. When someone tries to get pass you to get to their seats, please ensure that the area in front of your seat is empty – so we don’t have to try and step over your purse, coat, backpack, etc, and please stand up as your seat will fold up and you can move back a few inches. If you sit in your seat, it just makes the clearance room to get by you that much smaller and therefore it makes it that much harder to get by you. Also keep your coats and arms in your area: don’t put your coat on your seat so it is lying in the aisle above you. When beer is spilled on it, don’t look at me (I don’t drink – but usually the floor at my seat is sticky or at times a swamp of beer). Also don’t look at me when I step on it to get out – it is lying in the aisle that me, and a lot of other people, have to walk down to get out / get to our seats. And if your arm is wrapped around your significant others, it is also blocking that access way.
- Eats: there are tasty eats at the Garden, but they are a bit expensive. If you don’t have time before the game, I recommend them. But if you do have time before the game, stop on the way in and eat – just be advised you can’t bring any eats / drinks into the Garden from the outside. And be advised that there isn’t much room at your seat to eat – but it is doable. You won’t be able to stand up and cheer, but if you can manage to balance the drink /eat holder on your lap, you’ll be fine.
So even with all the late nights and early morning, we are signing up . . .make that we already signed up for next year’s season tickets. Not only do we get to go to every single home game, but we get little bonuses like skating on the Garden ice, meeting players, etc.