May 3, 2012

Bruins eyeing better practice facility in near future

By Jesse Connolly

Providence Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy (back right) directs players during Development Camp at Ristuccia Arena last summer. (Dave Arnold Photography)

It’s not exactly a secret that Ristuccia Arena is one of the most underwhelming practice facilities to be used by an NHL team, but the Boston Bruins have long called the rink in Wilmington home. That may be changing, however, in the near future.

Given its not-so-state-of-the-art offerings, and the fact that Ristuccia’s located well outside of Boston, the Bruins stated Thursday that they’ve devoted a lot of time of late into finding a more modern facility that’s closer to TD Garden.

“(Team president) Cam (Neely) and I have been collaborating a bit on what should be the best facility for us moving forward,” B’s principal Charlie Jacobs said at an end-of-year press conference at the Garden Thursday. “We batted and considered Wilmington around a bit and obviously also explored some other locations. We like to think of our training facility and practice facilities as a drawing card for players that might be playing on other markets and look at us and say, ‘jeez, I’d love to come to Boston, not only for the atmosphere, but for the environment’ the day-to-day environment where they practice. 

“The practice facility really does need to be, if you will, world class in that regards. So, we put, for lack of better term, a blue ribbon committee to say, ‘Let’s try to find the right location that’s within very short driving distance to the Boston Garden that could offer that kind of environment, that kind of ice and training facility if you will.’ We’re in the process of that now, we don’t have any final answers to share with you today, other than saying we’ve done a lot of work on this subject and I think we’re drawing to a real good conclusion.”

Jacobs, joined by Neely and his father, owner Jeremy Jacobs, at the press conference, turned to Neely for full clarification on their current deal with Ristuccia.

“We still have some term on Wilmington as well,” said Neely. “There’s one year left. We’re in discussions with them right now.”

Jesse Connolly can be reached at Follow him on Twitter at @JesseNEHJ.