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For Celtics and Bruins, a Friday switch at TD Garden

The Garden “Bull Gang” will be converting from basketball to hockey, not the other way around.Jim Davis/Globe Staff

The Celtics and Bruins faithful realize that Friday will be dramatically different from the usual day after Thanksgiving around here.

Traditionally, both teams play at TD Garden on this day, with the Bruins occupying the afternoon slot and the Celtics taking the night game.

Not this year.

The Celtics will host the Chicago Bulls at 1 p.m., and the Bruins will host the Winnipeg Jets at 7, a switch that was prompted by the NHL’s decision to move the Rangers-Flyers game to 1 p.m. for a national television slot on NBC.

The NHL did not want the Bruins playing in an afternoon window opposite Rangers-Flyers, so the Bruins, who own the Garden, asked the Celtics to switch.


“We went back to the NBA and said, ‘Hey, can we make the switch?’ and they said, ‘No problem,’ ” said Celtics chief marketing offer Shawn Sullivan. “That’s actually a very strong start time for us.”

The Celtics and Bruins have a good relationship in terms of accommodating their respective schedules at the Garden. The Celtics generally don’t play home games Thursdays and Saturdays, while the Bruins tend to avoid Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays.

Sullivan said the Celtics have approximately 55 dates during the regular season to lock in 41 home games. They submit those 55 dates to the NBA and the league comes back with a rough draft of the schedule.

“The trading [with the Bruins] comes in once the league schedulers start putting dates together,” Sullivan said. “A lot of communication comes at the league level.

“I was just interested in what the staff and fan reaction would be because it becomes part of the tradition that you play the night after Thanksgiving. Everybody immediately noticed it on the schedule.”

Sullivan said it’s easier for crews at TD Garden to convert the venue from a basketball arena to a hockey rink than the other way around, and the staff will have only a few hours to make the change since the Celtics game is expected to conclude around 3:30 p.m.


Gary Washburn can be reached at gwashburn@globe.com.