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New Balance rink could serve as Bruins practice site

The Bruins train at a no-frills rink in Wilmington, which is cramped and out of the way for one of the NHL’s top teams.

Bill Greene/Globe Staff/file

The Bruins train at a no-frills rink in Wilmington, which is cramped and out of the way for one of the NHL’s top teams.

The Boston Bruins are exploring plans to open a new practice facility at the massive sports complex being developed by New Balance Athletic Shoe Inc. along the Massachusetts Turnpike in Brighton, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

No deal has been signed, but the Bruins have expressed interest in moving to the property, where New Balance has won approval to build a regulation-size NHL rink as part of a broader development to be known as New Brighton Landing.

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A commitment from the team would be a major boost for the $500 million project, which also includes several office buildings, a boutique hotel, stores, restaurants, and track and field facilities. Construction is expected to start on a new world headquarters for New Balance this year.

A spokeswoman for New Balance declined to comment Friday, as did executives with the Bruins.

For now, the team has a more pressing matter to attend to: winning its second Stanley Cup in three seasons. The Bruins are hoping to even their series with the Blackhawks when the teams face off for Game 2 Saturday night in Chicago.

The Bruins hold training sessions at Ristuccia Memorial Arena in Wilmington. The facility may fit the ethos of the no-frills Bruins, but it seems cramped and out of the way for one of the NHL’s best franchises in recent years.

Bruins executives have been shopping for a larger, more modern training facility for more than a year. Another option may be a new complex being planned in Allston by The Skating Club of Boston. That facility, planned to open in 2015, will include three rinks, including an Olympic-size ice sheet.

The development would be one of the largest sports complexes in Boston.

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The New Balance development will be one of the largest sports complexes in Boston. The 95-foot-tall building will have 345,000 square feet of space divided among a hockey rink, fitness center, track and field facility, and medical offices. The complex will be open to the public and is expected to include several retail storefronts on the ground floor.

“This facility will be a focal point of the proposed project that in conjunction with the presence of New Balance will help re-brand the district as a center for health and wellness,” the company wrote in documents filed with city regulators.

The development, situated on 14 acres along Guest Street, would also include several office buildings, a 175-room hotel, 1.4 acres of public open space, 1,750 parking spaces, and 65,000 square feet of space for shops and restaurants.

Casey Ross can be reached at cross@globe.com.
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