BOSTON (WHDH) - Boston sports fans are once again filling venues to support their favorite teams now that the remaining COVID-19 restrictions in Massachusetts have been lifted.

A near-capacity crowd of 18,000 fans filled the seats at TD Garden on Saturday to watch David Pastrnak score a hat trick in the Bruins’ Game 1 win over the New York Islanders.

Fans were still required to wear masks and were not permitted to bring bags, but it was still the magical moment that fans and players had been waiting for.

“It’s a different sport with them in the building,” said Pastrnak. “It definitely kind of warms your heart and reminds you why you play this sport.”

“The energy and the atmosphere was everything you expected and more,” added Patrice Bergeron. “To say we’ve missed them is an understatement.”

Red Sox fans also returned in masses to cheer on the Red Sox on Satuday despite the gloomy weather.

“We both work in healthcare, so coming here and seeing everyone having a full time, full capacity, just hearing everyone singing Sweet Caroline was just mint. It was awesome,” said a fan.

Saturday marked the first day since March 2020 that sports venues have been permitted to welcome back fans without capacity limits in place.

On Sunday, the Celtics will finally have their chance to play in front of a nearly full house at TD Garden.

“There’s a reason why people play for a home court all year,” said Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens. “Obviously, it’s great to play in front of fans anywhere, and I think we’re all even more thankful for that.”

Game 4 between the Celtics and Nets is scheduled for Sunday, with tip-off set at 7 p.m.

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