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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Boston Bruins gave fan free tickets for life when she could no longer afford them

Bruins-flagThe prices of Boston Bruins tickets have increased rapidly over the past decade, in part because of basic inflation but also because of the recent success of the team. As a result, fans who could attend games during the early part of the century can no longer afford the cost that comes along with venturing to the TD Garden to cheer on their team.

One fan, 77-year-old Marge Bishop fro Gloucester, Mass., has been going to Bruins home games since the 1960s. According to the Boston Globe, Bishop contemplated giving up her seats in 2004 when the price went from $73 per game to $90. However, she received a personal call from Charlie Jacobs, the son of Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs, asking her to join the season-ticket advisory board. After the renewal window had closed, Jacobs made sure her tickets were not released to the public. She ended up changing her mind.

But Bishop, who is know by name around the rink because she gives chocolates to the Zamboni drivers between periods, faced the same issue in 2006 — this time on a larger scale. Her seats went from $90 per game to $150 per game, and at that point she knew there was no way she could afford the increase in price. Jacobs saved the day again.

Bishop said Jacobs invited her to a backstage tour of the TD Garden, where her showed her a plastic Patriots VIP pass that he carries around with his name on it.

“He could go to any (Patriots) game he wanted at any time,” Bishop said. “At first I didn’t know why he was showing me it.”

Jacobs then gave Bishop a similar card, but one that was good for all Bruins games.

“It was the most unbelievable gesture,” she said. “People just don’t do things like that. … I’m just a regular person. And I’ve been given this remarkable once-in-a-lifetime gift. It’s incredible. It’s the most remarkable story.”

Since that day, she has never missed a game. Bishop usually brings her husband, but he begins work at his construction job at 5 a.m. and is sometimes too tired to attend. When that happens, she asks anyone from her physician to a random supermarket cashier named Maria to join her at the Garden.

“Her name was Maria,” Bishop said. “She saw I was wearing a Bruins pin and she said, ‘Oh, I love the Bruins!’ So I asked if she wanted to join me.”

And for the record, it was Bishop’s decision to go public with the story so you can’t call it a PR stunt. Bravo, Charlie Jacobs. Maybe there is such a thing as ownership loyalty.



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