Tickets for the early bird session sold out quickly as eager fans jumped at the chance to meet the players and coaches, tour the official Black & Gold locker room and enter to win a variety of Bruins prizes.
“The first session was hopping,” said Boston Bruins Executive Vice President Charlie Jacobs and Founder of the Boston Bruins Foundation, who was thrilled with the large amount of supporters. “People seem really enthused to be here.”
The doors to the Garden opened promptly at noon and soon after, fans of all ages were lining up to play air hockey with P.J. Axelsson, meet Patrice Bergeron
and have Andrew Alberts phone a friend.
Boston Bruins Fans were also pleasantly surprised to see that the normally ice-covered arena had been transformed into a game-filled extravaganza. The B's faithful had the opportunity to test out the new Nintendo Wii against Jeff Hoggan, dance next to Wayne Primeau in Dance Dance Revolution and spin the Wheel of Chance with Boston Bruins alumni, Bob Sweeney.
“I can’t wait to shoot on net,” said young Matthew Bregman of Auburn, MA.
In addition to the variety of games, Bregman and hundreds of other children had the unique opportunity of actually shooting on Boston Bruins goalie Phillippe Sauve.
Above the arena floor, fans filled the rows and isles as they waited anxiously to meet some of their Bruins favorites. Zdeno Chara
, Glen Murray, Tim Thomas
, Patrice Bergeron
, and Marc Savard
posed for pictures and signed autographs throughout the day. The longest line however stretched from the set of doors behind which many legends were made as Boston Bruins head coach Dave Lewis was stationed in the coveted Boston Bruins locker room, where he met with fans and shared his enthusiasm for the season.
Jacobs agreed that the great turnout was directly related to the recent changes within the Boston Bruins organization.
“I really think people are excited about the new mix up we have here.” Jacobs joined in fun, admitting that he enjoyed making his wife Kim a pink Bruins teddy bear. He concluded that aside from the Nintendo Wii, the teddy bear workshop was definitely a attraction.
The Animaland staff was busy all day, helping fans stuff bears and dress them with tiny Bruins jerseys.
At the center of it all was the group that helped to make it all happen. Outfitted in their own pink jerseys, the Bruins wives encouraged fans to support the cause of the day by selling raffle tickets for over 50 different prizes.
Prizes ranged from gift certificates to autographed Bruins memorabilia; fans disclosed that the most desired prize however was the chance to be a guest on a Boston Bruins Road Trip.
--------Christina Peaslee is a journalism major at Northeastern University and a former intern with the Boston Bruins