‘Bobby Orr Day’ (May 10), will be a bit happier this year as TD Garden can now be a quarter full when the Boston Bruins host the New York Islanders that night and going forward this season.
On Tuesday, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker announced that as part of the next phases of reopening the state’s economy, TD Garden, Gillette Stadium and Fenway Park can now be at 25 percent capacity.
Since March 23, the Boston Bruins, Boston Celtics, Boston Red Sox, and New England Revolution have been allowed to play to 12 percent of its 17,580 capacity, which amounts to 2,142 fans per game. The Bruins have played 12 home games since welcoming fans back into the building on March 25 when they also hosted the Islanders. While it’s nowhere close to being in a rocking, soldout TD Garden at full capacity, the Bruins have enjoyed and fed off having fans back at the games and they’re looking forward to the Garden being even louder starting on May 10.
“It’s been great!” Boston Bruins winger Craig Smith said prior to the Bruins’ tilt with the Pittsburgh Penguins down in Pittsburgh at PPG Paints Arena. “We talk about it all the time. how great it would be to get more people in the building. I think the people that have come to the games have done a fantastic job. It’s been fun to play in front of them and if we can a couple more jammed in there, it will be a lot of fun.”
Ironically, PPG Paints Arena and the Penguins made some noise regarding attendance as well in the last 48 hours. Per colleague Dan Kingerski of Pittsburgh Hockey Now:
According to the letter sent to season ticket holders, Morehouse reported the Penguins had petitioned the state to include “vaccinated sections” of fans at PPG Paints Arena during games. The sections would require vaccination proof.
“Vaccinated sections would allow fans with proof of vaccination to sit closer in a protected environment,” the letter read. “We have been encouraged by the number of people in and around the region that have been vaccinated, and we feel this would be a safe and effective way to allow more fans access to attend games.”
The Penguins would maintain sections for non-vaccinated fans and will not require COVID vaccinations to attend. Masks will still be required, too.
“Until the CDC and the Pennsylvania Department of Health rules otherwise, masks will still be required,” Morehouse wrote. “And all existing COVID safety and cleaning protocols will remain in effect.”
The Bruins aren’t exactly at that point yet, but the new Tuesday is just another step back to sports and cultural normality.
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