This famous arena in Boston, Massachusetts opened in 1928 as the “Boston Madison Square Gardens.” Familiar name right? Because Tex Rickard, the original owner and creator of the 1st three MSG’s (The one that stands today is actually the 4th MSG), had a plan to expand his empire of areans all over the country. At a cost of $10 million dollars ($129 million in today’s money), it housed two of the most storied franchises in North American professional sports: The Boston Blazers Lacrosse team and New England Whalers of the World Hockey Association. Just kidding. The actual teams of course were the Boston Bruins of the National Hockey League (NHL) and the Boston Celtics of the National Basketball Association (NBA).
1928-1995. Painted by Paul H Adams.
As a Hockey fan, when I think of the “Big Bad Bruins” and their time at the Garden, a few players and moments come to mind. You think of Bobby Orr and his famous 1970 Stanley cup winning goal against the St.Louis Blues. Bruin greats such as Phil Esposito, Cam Neely, Ray Bourque and if you are old enough to remember, Eddie Shore and Milt Schmidt. The Garden hosted the Stanley Cup Finals 15 times, with the Bruins winning 5 of those series, and the 1971 NHL All-Star Game. Those who attended the Garden for Bruins games were always treated to fantastic entertainment from world class players from both their own and visiting team. Entertainment such as full-on team brawls were the result of the heated rivalries that the Bruins made along the years as pictured here against one of their most prominent rivals: the Montreal Canadiens.
As a basketball fan, when I think of the great Celtics and the Gardens, despite their arsenal of Basketball legends and championships, the first thing that always comes to my mind is: the parquet floor. Seriously, it was aesthetically pleasing. The second thing that comes to my mind is another team: The Los Angeles Lakers. Why? They played each other 10 times in the NBA finals from 1959-1987 and another 2 times in 2008, 2010 post Garden era. Scenes such as this one pictured below of Celtic great Bill Russell up against another great Wilt Chamberlain or those of Celtic Larry Bird versus Magic Johnson are iconic in basketball history. The Celtic-Lakers rivalry is considered the best rivalry in the NBA and one of the best in professional sports. The Garden hosted 19 NBA Finals, with the Celtics winning 16 of those series, and 4 All-Star Games.
“Rivals” (1968-69). Legends
Bill Russell (Left) and Wilt Chamberlain (Yellow) battle it out on the parquet floor. Limited Edition Print.
The Garden was considered obsolete by the 70s due to the lack of air conditioning, luxury suites, the smaller dimension of their ice rink and the increasing need to expand seating. However, multiple proposals for the construction of a new arena were rejected.
After decades worth of attempts to build a new sports arena in Boston, the FleetCenter (now the TD Garden), was completed and opened in 1995. Following the immediate relocation of its two historic tenants to their new home, the sporting world say goodnight to one their oldest friends and closed down later that year. The Boston Garden was demolished in 1998 for a parking lot for the new arena.
Back to the parquet floor, famous lore of the Celtics. It was originally part of an older arena built at the turn of the 20th century and then was moved to the Garden in 1952. It is said that the Celtics knew which way the basketball would bounce off any particular section of the floor and it may had been one contributing factor to their many NBA championships. The floor was so special to the team and Celtic’s culture that it was moved into the Fleetcenter. It stayed there until it was retired in 1999 in favour of a new parquet floor. In keeping with culture and perhaps good luck, original pieces of the floor were integrated into the new one.
Luckily, we the SPORT Gallery, are in possession of cufflinks produced by Tokens & Icons that incorporate pieces of the ORIGINAL parquet floor. Amazing isn’t it? This is a great item to have for any sports fan and would certainly be a special gift for Christmas! Don’t forget to check out Celtic/Bruins prints and merchandise as well!
Pieces of the original parquet floor on sterling silver cufflinks. Certificate of Authenticity included.