On April 16, 1910, Boston Arena, renamed Matthews in 1982, opened its doors for the first time for an ice show. Nearly 100 years later, this legendary arena has earned a reputation of being one of the most historic sporting venues in Boston. For the past three months under the direction of project manager Frank Mahoney, a multi-million dollar renovation project has taken Matthews from historically shabby to historically chic and Matthews is ready to open its doors to its faithful Huskies fans for the 2009-10 season.
“This renovation has given the building new life,” Northeastern athletic director Peter Roby said. “It was a sleeping giant that we needed to wake up.”
Matthews has been home to nearly all major Boston sports teams at some point in time. In 1924, the Boston Bruins played their first home game at the arena, with the Celtics following suit 22 years later. It is the world’s oldest multi-purpose athletic building. John F. Kennedy, Babe Ruth and Franklin Delano and Teddy Roosevelt are just a few names on the long list of legends that have passed through the doors.
“This building is a sacred building,” Northeastern men’s coach Greg Cronin said. “It’s a hockey cathedral. When I’m in this building, it’s a very unique experience. It stirs the souls on the bench and in the crowd.”
While rich in history, there was no doubt Matthews needed some updating. As a result, the renovation project was launched to tie together rich history with up-to-date amenities for players, coaches and fans and make Matthews one of the best venues to catch an event.
“To bring the old with the new is a tremendous honor,” Huskies women’s co-coach Linda Lundrigan said. “We want the athletes to have all the tools necessary to be successful on and off the ice. It makes a statement to the public.”
Among some of the changes visible to the fans are new cushioned seats in the premium seats and a press box in the lower bowl equipped with high-definition LCD televisions for instant replays. If the LCD monitors aren’t big enough for the press, there’s always the new video scoreboard hanging over center ice.
In between periods, fans will be able to check out the renovated lobby, stocked with new concession stands and bathrooms to meet the fans’ needs. For the athletes, the locker rooms have been renovated into suites with changing, shower, bathroom and lounge areas. Adjacent to the locker rooms is the brand new strength and conditioning center, full of new athletic equipment to keep the athletes in shape. Matthews’ new roof will help to keep all of these changes intact.
The Huskies opened the renovated Matthews doors to the public on Oct. 3, when the women’s team hosted Union and the men’s team played an exhibition game against St. Thomas.
The games not only marked the beginning of the 2009-10 college hockey season for NU, but also the beginning of a milestone year for Matthews Arena.
We’ve gathered some before and after photos from Northeastern’s photographer Jim Pierce and Northeastern Equipment Manager Matt Nareski that can be seen here. For more images and video tours during the renovation, visit matthewnareski.shutterfly.com.