On Wednesday, Bruins Principal Charlie Jacobs and Bruins President Cam Neely were on hand for the official groundbreaking ceremony at the Boston Landing development site in Allston/Brighton.
The development has been a long time coming.
"I'll go back to 2007, when I first got hired by the organization, it was evident that we needed a new practice facility," Neely said to the crowd in attendance, before breaking ground with a personalized shovel given to him that featured his No. 8.
"It's been a long process, plenty of visits throughout the Commonwealth, looking to see where we would land and call ourselves a new home."
It may have been a long process, but the Bruins and community will finally have a place within the city limits.
"We ended up in Boston, which is a win-win for community and the club," said Jacobs, who has been part of the process with Neely every step of the way.
"Without their support for our vision for being best in class both on and off the ice, this would not be made possible," Neely said of Jacobs and the Bruins' ownership.
Neely and Jacobs were joined at the ceremony by Mayor Martin Walsh, Chairman of New Balance Jim Davis, Managing Director for NB Development Group Jim Halliday and Managing Director for the HYM Investment Group Tom O’Brien. General Manager Peter Chiarelli was also on hand.
The new practice and training complex, based out of the Boston Landing development where New Balance will house its World Headquarters, will feature 75,000 square feet of arena space at 80 Guest Street, along with 175,000 square feet of office space and 12,000 square feet of retail space.
Athletic manufacturer Warrior Sports has latched on for naming rights of the arena.
"I think we're going to set an industry standard in terms of amenities, technology and quality when it comes to this training facility, both on-ice and off-ice workout areas," said Jacobs. "We're really proud to be part of this project and this community."
"I'm over the moon about New Balance and what they've promised to deliver for us and the relationship that we've started and grown since this project has been in discussion."
"This would not have happened if not for the people in our community," New Balance's Jim Davis told the crowd. "In accomplishing this task, there was no hidden agenda. There are no politics, there's always transparency, mutual trust and respect, built up over a period of 35 years."
There are plans for an outdoor space, and the entire 15-acre Boston Landing parcel in Allston-Brighton will house a hotel, residential complex, retail space, restaurant space, as well as another sports complex with a track and field component. Significant improvements will be made to local roadways and public transportation, including a new commuter rail station.
"It's a win for them, it's a win for us, and we couldn't be more excited about what the future holds for Boston Landing and this facility," said Managing Director for NB Development Group (New Balance), Jim Halliday.
Warrior Ice Arena will be located right off the Massachusetts Turnpike, about 20 minutes from TD Garden.
"We're going to be on the highway which is a lot of visibility for anybody traveling to and from - it's a win-win for us," said Jacobs.
Especially with its proximity to the Garden and downtown Boston, the new facility will directly impact the the team and players.
"I really think it means a lot to the players - a lot to the organization, and to the players," said Jacobs. "With the players, if I'm Big Zee, or Looch, or Seth Griffith, you're doing that grind in terms of back and forth to the rink, and likewise on an off day when the Celtics are playing, so it means a lot to have a shorter commute and makes life easier."
"Then to think about courting potential free agents, and not only show them the Garden and the work that we've done there, say, 'Hey listen, come check out our practice facility' - that's a big selling point for a lot of clubs and it should be one for Boston, and it will be very soon."
Neely and the group have received input from players on the layout of the new facility. "[On] what was needed, what's expected and what you'd like to see as a player," said Neely.
Ristuccia Memorial Arena, located north of the city in Wilmington, Mass., has been the Bruins' practice home for the past 20-plus years.
"They've been great partners for over 20-plus years and they'll continue to be great partners as we transition into our new practice facility," said Neely.
"They've been very good partners for a very long, we just seem to have outgrown that facility," said Jacobs. "So in that regard, let me just say that I hope we hold a couple more camps here in the summer time to be more active in the city, both with our youth hockey programs and adult programs. And I also hope that players whostay in Boston over the summer have a place to come and work out at, and be familiar with - everything that's in the complex, not just the ice rink."
The entire project has come to fruition through a strong partnership with the City of Boston and Mayor Walsh.
"This is an exciting development and it's great for not just for this neighborhood, but the city as a whole," said Mayor Walsh. "We're going to have a world-class training facility for a world championship team right here in the city of Boston. I want to thank Charlie Jacobs for the investment."
"The Bruins have been have been such a point of pride in our city for so long and they certainly have been for me, as a little kid," the Mayor said. "This facility will strengthen that bond between the city and the team. It's going to open doors to the public so everyone will have a chance to skate on the same ice the Bruins practice on."
"But this is more than just about hockey…It's going to be part of a larger project that you know it already transforming an area of our city."
Warrior Ice Arena will mark the first public hockey arena constructed within the city in the last 40 years. Its impact on the community will be felt immediately.
"It's going to be exciting obviously for the city of Boston, and also Allston and Brighton, to bring the team back here to practice," said Neely. "It's been a great relationship with Ristuccia up in Wilmington, but it's time for us to move and get a new facility, and we're looking forward to getting the team and the organization out into the community."
"We do it a lot, as you know, and we're going to continue to do that, and more so, with the help of New Balance."