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B's Look to Keep '7th Player' Under Contract

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins
"Over the past two years we have seen our team performance and our Season Ticket Holder base grow concurrently," said Bruins Vice President of Business Operations Dan Zimmer in a release announcing the B's season ticket pricing in 2009-10. "When we evaluated our pricing options for next season we felt compelled to take into consideration the current economic environment and our desire to ensure that our most loyal fans get the most favorable pricing possible."

The Bruins success on the ice has led to success at the turnstiles as well -- or maybe the success at the turnstiles led to success on the ice. In any case, last spring the B’s recaptured hearts in the Hub with their “hard to play against” style, a style which culminated in a resounding Game 6 victory against the Montreal Canadiens and forced the Eastern Conference champion Habs to a do-or-die Game 7.

Considered by some the loudest sporting event ever held at the TD Banknorth Garden, Game 6 was just the beginning. This season has seen raucous crowds filing into North Station at a regular pace.

"They give us all their energy and give us momentum, too,” said Patrice Bergeron of the TD Banknorth Garden crowd.  “Sometimes when we go in other buildings it's not the case and sometimes it's probably a good thing for us as a visiting team.

“So it's great to have the fans behind us and it's been awesome this year.

“For sure the 'seventh man' plays a big role, especially when there are big games coming up…It's huge and we can feel it and we can hear it as well,” he said.

And the B’s have made the first step towards keeping their Seventh Players securely under contract.

“We took a hard look at the economy and the economic factors that face Boston and our fans, and we wanted to make sure that we were sensitive to those conditions and keep our ticket prices at the best prices for our most loyal fans, and that’s our season ticket base,” said Zimmer. “99% of the seats in this building, for people that renew by the season ticket renewal deadline will stay flat, or decrease from where they were last year.

“Of the 99%, 95% of those seats are staying flat, and the other four percent of the seats are going to see a modest decrease, and then one percent of the seats are going to increase, compared to the published prices that we had last year, and those are the glass seats.”

The Glass seats are the only current Season Ticket locations in the TD Banknorth Garden that are increasing for next season from their published 2008-2009 prices.  These seats have not seen an increase in price for the past three NHL seasons.

“Glass seats have stayed flat for us for the past three years for season ticket holders, so they’re just coming off a three-year fixed-price program, so that’s the only reason they’re going to change from year to year,” added Zimmer.  “It’s something that we look at.

“We had committed three years ago to keep those ticket prices flat, and because they’re just coming off those three years, we’re going to re-adjust those ticket prices.”

Those decisions should come as good news to the Bruins players who clearly see a full Garden as one of the keys to their continued success.

"It's a huge advantage for the home team,” said Chuck Kobasew. “You come out to a sold out rink and the atmosphere is exciting and there's always a buzz in the Garden and that's given us a lot of energy this year.

“This year, pretty much from day one, we've had great fans and they've all been sellouts -- or close to it -- and that's just exciting knowing that we go on some road games and you just don't know how many fans will be in the building.

“It's different in every rink and we're fortunate to have that."

Zimmer said that kind of passion is gratifying.

“It’s really driven by the performance of the team, and it’s been terrific this year,” he said. “We always knew this was a great hockey market, and now we’re getting to see, again, how strong and loyal our fan base is, and we want to take proper care of those loyal fans.

“It’s exceeded expectations [and] It’s a great thing to see.”

Michael Ryder, who was on the opposite side of the Bruins/Canadiens rivalry for several seasons and was used to playing in front of packed houses in Montreal, concurred.

"When you have a full house and the fans are all behind you, you get a lot more excited,” he said. “It seems like it gives a team an extra boost. That's what you need.

“I've always played in front of big crowds…and now here, it's pretty much the same thing. I think when you have that, a team responds to it and plays better...when you hear the crowd behind you it's always motivation to play well.

“And sometimes when we go on the road there are no fans in the other rinks that we play in and you feel pretty dead and you don't get the same feeling on the ice. And for the home team it can be even worse. But for us it's good that we get the fan support and it's a big boost for our team."
Bruins Season Ticket Holders will receive a package in the mail during the week of February 16, which will include renewal information for the 2009-2010 NHL season.

The Bruins are also taking deposits on new season tickets. For questions about Season Tickets, fans are encouraged to call 617.624.BEAR (option # 3) or email
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