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Beyond Boston: Bruins Host First-Ever Fan Fest Tour

by Caryn Switaj @NHLBruins /

Did you make it out to a Boston Bruins Fan Fest Tour stop?

The Bruins' crew set out to visit seven cities in all six New England states, making a 748-mile trip from TD Garden to each city, and then to Warrior Ice Arena for the final stop during training camp.

Nearly 14,000 fans were in attendance at the Fan Fest tour stops throughout August and early September in Portland, Maine, Manchester, N.H., Burlington, Vt., Springfield, Mass., Hartford, Conn., Providence, R.I., and Boston.

Players Brandon Carlo, Tim Schaller, Frank Vatrano, Noel Acciari, Riley Nash, and Tommy Cross met with fans at the stops, along with coaches and staff, including President Cam Neely, General Manager Don Sweeney, Assistant General Manager John Ferguson, Head Coach Bruce Cassidy, assistant coaches Kevin Dean and Joe Sacco, and Goaltending Coach Bob Essensa.

NESN color commentator Andy Brickley and play-by-play broadcaster Jack Edwards led Q&A sessions at every stop for the fans.

The inaugural Boston Bruins Fan Fest Tour was created to provide an opportunity for fans to meet with players, coaches, and management, as well as participate in a variety of activities.

The activities included answering Bruins Trivia to win prizes, visiting a mock Bruins dressing room, experiencing the TD Garden home broadcast booth through NESN's virtual reality, and much more.

Gifford's was also in attendance to give away free Power Play Fudge ice cream. During the seven stops, Gifford's (based out of Maine) served 94 tubs of ice cream, which amounts to 282 gallons.

The tour also gave Vatrano, Schaller, and Acciari the chance to represent the Bruins near their hometowns.

"It's a dream come true to play in the NHL, but to play for your hometown team, to see kids wearing your jersey, its pretty cool," said Vatrano, who attended the Springfield, Mass. stop and had plenty of family members in attendance. "Its great to see the support I have here, it's what I call home and I love it here."

An important component of the Boston Bruins Fan Fest Tour was growing the game.

More than 4,000 kids ages 4-9 were signed up for the Bruins Academy Learn to Play program. At the various stops, the kids were outfitted in brand new CCM hockey gear for a total of $2 million worth of equipment donated.

Through the program and fitting, each kid will receive their "locker room box" of $500 worth of equipment, including an "8-Spoked Bruins Academy Pledge" signed by Sweeney, in addition to four weeks of professional on-ice training at their local rinks this Fall.

View more information on the Boston Bruins Fan Fest Tour at

Video: Recap the Bruins' inaugural Fan Fest Tour

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