As early as the late 1970s, the Bruins were looking for a new arena. The Boston Garden was approaching 50 years old at the time. The Jacobs family, who had bought the Bruins in 1975, was looking to build a 17,000-seat arena in suburban Boston after negotiations fell through with the city of Boston. The team nearly moved to Salem, New Hampshire around where the Mall at Rockingham Park is today. That fell through and the Bruins continued to play at Boston Garden. The Celtics, also looking for a new arena, considered moving to Revere.

In 1985, Boston Garden owner Delaware North was awarded the rights to construct a new arena by the Boston Redevelopment Authority and Mayor Raymond Flynn. However, poor economic conditions delayed the project.

On May 8, 1992, Delaware North announced that it had secured funding for a new arena in the form of $120 million worth of loans evenly split between Bank of Boston, Fleet Bank of Massachusetts and Shawmut National Corporation. That December, a bill approving construction of the new arena was killed in the Massachusetts Senate by Senate President William M. Bulger. Legislative leaders and Delaware North attempted to reach an agreement on plans for the new arena, but in February 1993 Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs announced that he was backing out of the project as a result of the legislature's demand that his company pay $3.5 million in "linkage payments". Massachusetts governor Bill Weld lent strong support to a "Chapter 15" piece of legislation that included a "Section 7" that explicitly required Delaware North to "administer, produce, promote and sponsor no less than three charitable events per year at the New Boston Garden" and pay the proceeds from such events to the Metropolitan District Commission (MDC), today known as the state's Department of Conservation and Recreation. Two weeks later, after a new series of negotiations, the two sides finally came to an agreement, and on February 26 the legislature passed a bill that allowed for the construction of a new sports arena.


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