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The Boston Globe

Sports

Boston set to ramp up security for sporting events

First he passed a pair of camouflage-clad soldiers from the Massachusetts Army National Guard, First Batallion, 182d Infantry Regiment.

Then he walked by a member of the Massachusetts State Police.

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Then a Boston Police sergeant.

Next Ryan Page strode past a group of MBTA Transit Police. Then a pack of private security officers.

Finally, he reached the Boston Bruins Pro Shop on the Red Auerbach Concourse at North Station, beneath TD Garden.

Page had come from Salt Lake City to catch his first glimpse of his basketball idol, Kevin Garnett, on the Garden parquet. Instead, he found the arena locked down and the area swarming with security forces.

He would have to settle for seeing images of Garnett in the pro shop and on a towering pillar in the train station concourse.

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For a second straight night, the Garden, typically booming in mid-April, was dark Tuesday, as a scheduled game between the Celtics and Indiana Pacers was postponed after the deadly bombings at the Boston Marathon. A game between the Bruins and Ottawa Senators had been postponed Monday.

Action will resume Wednesday night when the Bruins face the Buffalo Sabres, with security expected to be as tight as it has been for an event on Causeway Street since the 2004 Democratic National Convention.

The beefed-up security made sense to Page, since the perpetrator of Monday’s terrorism remains on the loose.

“I think it’s necessary because they don’t have anybody in custody yet,’’ he said. “I understand where they’re coming from with the extra security.’’

The National Guard, in an unusual show of military force at a sporting event, will patrol the Garden again Wednesday, according to several soldiers.

“Roger that, sir,’’ said a private first class who declined to give his full name.

They will be part of a massive security team that ensures the games go on, as they typically do in a society that prides itself on resilience and draws a measure of comfort from its ritual sporting events. The games went on after the fatal bombing at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. They resumed after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

And so they will in Boston. Wednesday’s game is expected to offer a sense of normalcy to the city when nearly 20,000 hockey fans gather to celebrate the sport while paying tribute to the dead and wounded from the Marathon attack — all under the watchful eye of the Garden security force.

TD Garden president Amy Latimer, reached briefly by phone, said arena officials were busy preparing a security plan for upcoming games.

“We, along with everyone, were devastated by [Monday’s] tragic event,’’ Latimer said in a prepared statement. “Our thoughts and prayers remain with all of those affected. The TD Garden is working with state and local law enforcement to enhance our already diligent security measures and continue to provide a safe environment at all our events. We are asking our fans, media and staff to allow extra time when arriving due to increased security measures.’’

While the Garden’s enhanced security is not expected to approach the Secret Service’s multimillion-dollar safety plan for the 2004 political convention, ticket-holders should anticipate unusually thorough screening at the door as well as surveillance throughout the arena. Garden officials previously have said they have cameras linked to their security command center that can zoom in on every patron in every seat in the house.

Since the 2001 terrorist attacks, the Garden’s security procedures routinely have included random metal detection. Customers also are prohibited from entering with bags, backpacks, luggage, laptops, coolers, parcels, briefcases, and similar articles.

All guests and their belongings, including women’s handbags, will be subject to search.

“You know they can’t check everybody for everything, but they will do the best they can,’’ said Dennis Burroughs of Lowell. “That’s good enough for me.’’

Burroughs, who described himself as a Celtics and Bruins fan, was waiting for a train home after helping lead an outing to the Franklin Park Zoo.

“They should play the games,’’ Burroughs said. “We need them to keep playing.’’

The Bruins also are scheduled to play at the Garden Friday and Sunday. The Celtics won’t return until they face the New York Knicks in the third game of their first-round playoff series next week.

Page, while sifting through merchandise in the pro shop, expressed sadness for the lives lost and the scores of injured.

He said he was impressed by the heightened security throughout the city. But he was unable to mask the disappointment of traveling nearly 2,400 miles to see his idol, only to be left standing with tickets to a game that would never be played.

“I’ve been waiting for this moment ever since KG came to Boston,’’ Page said. “I wish I could have seen him.’’

He saw soldiers instead.

Bob Hohler can be reached at hohler@globe.com.

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