The Sports Museum: Hockey History Galore
Friday, 06.08.2007 / 8:26 AM / Features
By Joe Beare - Student Correspondent | BostonBruins.com
Boston -- TD Banknorth Garden is best known to hockey fans as the raucous home of the Boston Bruins. But it is also home to The Sports Museum, located on the 5th and 6th floors of the Garden, which boasts some of sports’ greatest treasures.
With a focus on New England sports franchises from past and present, as well as famed New England athletes, the Sports Museum is rich with history and tradition. And as one would expect from the name and location, the hockey artifacts on display are some of the most impressive on either floor.
The 5th floor is home to a Bruins display that would leave any hockey fan in awe as some of the National Hockey League’s most glorious moments are forever frozen in time. Here you can witness icebound greatness -- from the suspended cutout of Bobby Orr sailing through the air after his famous Stanley Cup winning goal to the brand new “Hail to the Chief” display -- The Sports Museum is a must see for any Boston hockey fan.
Possibly the most popular item on display is the original penalty box salvaged from the Boston Garden and given to former Bruins player and coach Terry O'Reilly.
Appropriately located next to a display honoring its owner, the old sin bin saw its fair share of NHL legends throughout the years. Many tough, bloodied and weary athletes put up their feet for two shameful minutes in the old Garden box, or in O’Reilly’s case (more often than not), a hard fought five.
Museum curator Richard Johnson identifies with O’Reilly’s “lunch pail” style and remarked, “The Bruins identity for many seasons was based on a rugged style that was one part ballet and four parts street brawl. From the days of Eddie Shore and Sprague Cleghorn to the wild antics of Bobby Schmautz, Stan Jonathan and John Wensink, the Bruins have often succeeded playing on the dark side.”
Just around the corner is the “Everybody Loves Raymond” display, dedicated to defensive Boston stalwart Ray Bourque. Several life sized images of the beloved blue liner highlighting some of his career’s greatest moments stare down from high upon the wall, a well-deserved salute to the captain who starred on the Beantown stage for better than 20 years.
Next to the Bruins display is the Old-Time Hockey section of the museum, which holds one of hockey’s most interesting and amusing artifacts.
Resting comfortably in a display case is 1924’s version of the Zamboni: An equestrian powered ice-smoothing mechanism, manned by a crew of 13 broom-wielding men and a single horse.
Upstairs on the 6th floor, international hockey competition is honored with displays containing memorabilia from both the men and women’s United States Olympic squads. And, by far, the favorite display of any American hockey fan is the one dedicated to 1980’s "Miracle On Ice" team, who skated to an unlikely victory over the powerful Soviet Red Army club at Lake Placid, New York.
Johnson attended his first Bruins game in the Stanley Cup winning season of 1970 and appreciates the impact the 70’s Bruins made on Boston and hockey in general.
“The Bruins of the Orr/Esposito/Bucyk era not only were responsible for the construction of innumerable rinks in greater Boston and New England," explains Johnson, "but they were also the team, that through their countless appearances on national TV, helped inspire the players who became part of the famed “Miracle on Ice” Olympic team of 1980.”
Led into battle by four BU Terriers, Jim Craig, Mike Eruzione, Jack O’Callahan and Dave Silk, the 1980 team was kind enough to donate several jerseys worn in the legendary victories over the Soviets and the Fins.
The museum honored the four players at the museum’s annual Tradition event in 2005.
“We were thrilled to honor the 1980 Boston University Olympic quartet on the 25th anniversary of their historic win," he said. "We all remember Mike Eruzione waving his teammates to the victory stand, but who can forget Dave Silk’s flashy playmaking, Jack O’Callahan’s enthusiasm, and Jim Craig’s clutch goal keeping.
"They were a team for all time.”
Of course no New England hockey display would be complete without paying tribute to possibly the most coveted trophy in Boston sports: The Beanpot. Won most recently by the present skaters at BU, the famed silver pot represents the greatest in-season tournament in college hockey.
With the winning school name from each year inscribed on the side, many collegiate stars that have gone on to NHL glory have competed for the coveted Beanpot. Current Bruins, and former Eagles, Andrew Alberts, Bobby Allen, and Chuck Kobasew skated in the legendary tournament before finding their way to the National Hockey League.
The Sports Museum is a must-see for any hockey fan, and is open between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. on most weekdays, excluding special events. However, admission is limited to 11:00 a.m., 12:00 p.m., 1:00 p.m., 2:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. So be sure to give yourself a window of 15-minutes or so prior to an admission time to purchase your tickets and proceed to The Sports Museum entrance.
Be sure to call 617.624.1234 when planning your trip or consult www.sportsmuseum.org for any schedule changes.