Fans Camping Out For a Chance to Catch the Bruins in the Stanley Cup Finals

Dozens of people put up tents, set out chairs, and started playing cards outside TD Garden on Tuesday.

Photo via Steve Annear

Photo by Steve Annear

David Freni won’t make the same mistake twice.

Last time the Celtics had the chance to secure a championship, he camped out by the doors at TD Garden’s ticket booth for an entire day. But because he showed up after noon, 24 hours before tickets went on sale, he couldn’t get his hands on seats for any of the home games.

With the Bruins being his favorite Boston sports team, he made sure this time he was first in line. “[People] asked me if it’s crazy to come here 24 hours before tickets go on sale. I told them I would come here 48 hours before if I had to,” said Freni, standing near the front entrance, decked out in a Bruins jersey and grey Bruins hat, as he helped his friends put together a tent just inches from the glass doors leading into the Garden. “I wasn’t going to make that same mistake [I made with the Celtics].”

After the Bruins swept the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Eastern Conference Finals, TD Garden officials announced that tickets for the Stanley Cup Finals against the Chicago Blackhawks for three home games would go on sale starting Tuesday at noon, both online and at the ticket office near Causeway Street. The home games will be played on June 17, 19, and 24.

With tens of thousands of fans itching to get a seat to one of the games, more than a dozen people decided to claim turf outside of the Garden on Monday, more than a day before the office even opened. Being first in line made them almost certain they would be able to catch one game—and they didn’t seem to care how much it cost.

Expecting to pay upward of $400 to snag a seat to see the Bruins, Shane Patterson and his brother, Tyler, called out of work sick at their respective jobs, grabbed fellow Bruins fan Felicia Dececca, and packed up some food and sleeping gear to head to Boston.

The trio, who are from Woburn, showed up just behind Freni and his friends, placing camping chairs along the pathway leading to the front doors of the Garden to stake their claim. Both the Patterson brothers, sitting in bright yellow chairs adorned with smiley faces and dressed head-to-toe in Bruins apparel, had been growing their beards out for most of the season, despite requests by their employers to trim them down. “I don’t care really. It’s the Bruins. If my boss doesn’t understand that—you’re supposed to represent your team,” said Shane. He said he didn’t risk being fired, but taking a day off to camp out for 24 hours was something he had to do. Sitting beside the Woburn brothers, Dececca said she wet as far as quitting one of her jobs. “This is very serious,” said Shane, supporting her decision to do so. “But it’s good stuff, good people, and a good experience.”

As Dececca and the Patterson brothers played cards to pass the time, talking idly with the others in black and gold sitting directly behind them in line, Freni and his Malden friends finished setting up their tent. Freni said sleeping outdoors near North Station isn’t a big deal, and like Shane, felt it adds to the experience of seeing a game during the Stanley Cup finals. “We are going to have a hell of a time. We are all here for the same reason. People might say it’s only a championship, and it is, but sports mean a lot to Boston,” he said. “Staying overnight makes the whole thing more suspenseful and exciting.”