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Bruins move into new practice facility

Warrior Ice Arena replaces rink Boston used for nearly 30 years

by Matt Kalman / Correspondent

BOSTON -- The Boston Bruins on Thursday unveiled their new practice facility, Warrior Ice Arena, located in the city's Brighton neighborhood.

The Bruins expect the facility, which replaces their practice home of almost 30 years, Ristuccia Memorial Arena in Wilmington, Massachusetts, to be a big contributor to their improvement in coming seasons.

Defenseman Torey Krug, who has been rehabbing after April 21 shoulder surgery, already has taken advantage of a lot of the amenities.

"It's just the fact that now the guys want to be here," Krug said. "Not to take anything away from any past facilities or anything, but guys would get in there, get on the ice, do your work in the weight room and just get out of there. Now we have this beautiful facility, and there's this energy and people want to be here, they're going to spend time here.

"To be honest, you might go that extra mile to do things that you probably wouldn't in the past to make sure your body's ready whether it's the next practice or the next game. I think that's a large part for every individual as well."

The facility, which was built by New Balance as part of the Boston Landing project, is about seven miles from TD Garden, making it easily accessible for players who live downtown or a little outside of the city.

The Bruins plan to use the rink for practices, all of training camp, and possibly morning skates.

Bruins president Cam Neely didn't want to single out one feature as his favorite. However, as a player who battled his share of injuries during his Hockey Hall of Fame career and has seen how they can affect a team during his time as an executive, the trainer's room struck a chord.

"A lot of the guys in the offseason, when they work out or they get treatments, they're taking care of their bodies as best as they think they can," Neely said. "We want to do that for them during the season. So I think it's very important for us to give them the best equipment, give them the best care that we can. ... When they do get banged up, if it helps them get back a little more quickly, that's better for everybody."

In addition to the hot and cold tubs, the trainer's room features a treadmill that can go underwater for special therapy. The amount of space for players to get stretched out and receive treatment is significantly greater than that at Ristuccia, and the Bruins have been able to add therapists to their staff to get "more hands on players," as Neely put it.

The dressing room is shaped like a football rather than a square to facilitate interaction between players and to allow coaches to keep everyone's attention during strategy sessions. The Bruins logo is on the ceiling instead of on the floor, so players and visitors won't have to worry about stepping on it (Neely's idea). In the video room, players can sit in movie theater seats while the coaches dissect plays.

Players riding a stationary bike can watch TV or look out at the Massachusetts Turnpike. The players' lounge, with a similar view, is reminiscent of a luxury apartment. It's decorated with leather couches, a kitchenette, and a large refrigerator. A table-tennis table adorned with the Bruins logo will provide a recreational distraction after practices.

In terms of eating, medical treatment, and team camaraderie, the Bruins will be treated like kings as they attempt to return to the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time in three seasons.

"Now there's no shortcuts," Krug said. "We've been provided with a lot of resources to be able to do a lot of things. And there's no excuses to not be prepared for upcoming games over the season or anything like that."

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