Welcome back to “Let’s Get To Know…”. Today we will be taking a look at the Boston Bruins. This edition of “Let’s Get To Know” holds added importance for me as I just finished moving into Boston. Fearing that I may be torn to shreds by crazy Bruins fans due to my ignorance regarding the franchise, the research for this post came none too soon.
Living in Boston will allow me the unique opportunity to, as the season progresses, inventory Bruins’ fans feelings toward their new division rival the Florida Panthers. Upon entering the city, I was introduced to many new people who inevitably asked me what it is that I do. I found their responses to my telling them that I write about the Florida Panthers to be very interesting. Here they are…
Responses to my telling Bostonians that I write about the Florida Panthers:
- “Oh I didn’t know they moved from Carolina….”
- “Do you like ever do posts about fantasy football…”
- “I had a friend who got drafted to play wide receiver for them…”
As you can see, there was a bit of miscommunication going on and it seems like most of Boston does not know that the Panthers (the hockey team) exists. Hopefully that changes when the Panthers start consistently laying the smack down on the Bruins at the TD Garden…. but still, there is nothing worse than the dawning of your own obscurity.
This is a two way street though right? I am sure most of you Panther fans have no idea what is going on right now and your sitting at your computers wondering to yourself, “why is he going on about these Boston Bruins??? Aren’t they some Dutch soccer team?? (they’re not) Isn’t Boston some town in England?” (It is) If you are that confused Panthers fan, then hold onto your seat because I am about to drop a knowledge bomb on you…Boston is a city in Massachusetts which in turn is a state in the USA. In Boston they have a hockey team named the Boston Bruins who have just joined the Atlantic Division alongside the Florida Panthers. If your eyes have not yet melted out of their sockets then I think it is safe for us to move on. So…let’s get to know the Boston Bruins…
- Original Six team, have been around since 1924
- Won first Stanley Cup in 1929, six total cup wins, 5th all time
- General Manager: Peter Chiarelli
- Head Coach: Claude Julien
- Last Playoff Appearance: 2013, lost to Chicago Blackhawks in Stanley Cup Finals four games to two
- Ranked 5th by Forbes on list of most valuable NHL teams. Valued at $348,000,000
- Franchise scoring leader: Ray Bourque (395 goals, 1,111 assists for 1,506 points in 1,518 games played with the Bruins)
- Current Home: TD Garden (capacity: 17,565)
- The man responsible for the Bruins existence is Charles Adams. In 1924, Adams, a Boston area grocery tycoon, traveled to Montreal to watch the Stanley Cup Finals between the Canadiens and the Calgary Tigers. Inspired by what he witnessed in Montreal, Adams hatched a plan to bring an NHL team to Boston. Once his mind was made up it did not take long for his plans to come to fruition and he was awarded a team in the summer of 1924 for the paltry sum of $15,000. The Bruins were a historic addition to the NHL as they were the league’s first team to call the United States their home. (Source)
- Adams hired former star defenseman Art Ross to be the team’s vice president, general manager, coach and scout. With instructions from Adams to come up with a nickname for the new team, Ross selected “Bruins” which is an Old English word for a brown bear.
- The team’s original colors were brown and yellow, also the colors of Adams’ grocery chain: First National Stores.
- The Bruins struggled through their first few seasons. Prior to the 1926-27 season, in an attempt to change his team’s fortunes, Charles Adams purchased the collapsing Western Canadian Hockey League in its entirety for $300,000. The influx of talent helped the Bruins to their first Stanley Cup Championship in 1929. (Source)
- The B’s played their first few seasons in the 3,500 seat Boston Arena. Adams knew his Bruins needed a state of the art indoor arena to call home. In order to capture the attentions of possible investors, he boldly proclaimed that the Bruins would bring $500,000 in gate receipts during the first five years in the arena. Adams’ rhetoric worked and the Bruins played their first game in their new home, the Boston Garden, on November 20, 1928. (Source)
- The Bruins would play at the Boston Garden for 67 seasons before moving to the TD Garden in 1995.
- The Bruins set the single season winning percentage record in the 1929-30 season when they went 38-6 (.875 winning percentage). The record still stands today.
- In 1948 the league banned Bruins youngster Don Gallinger for betting on games that his team played in. Gallinger came into the league at 17 and quickly became a fan favorite. He was banned for life after an investigation revealed that he had bet between $250 and $1,000 on games involving Bruins and that he gave out info regarding the state of the team. The former Bruins scoring leader’s career was over at the age of 22. The ban on Gallinger was lifted in 1970. (Source)
- The Bruins grew into a dominant team in the 1970’s built around a collection of grinders and big bruisers. The team’s physical play earned them the nickname, “The Big Bad Bruins”. The nickname was never more fitting then on December 23, 1979 when, following a victory over the Rangers at Madison Square Garden, a number of Bruins players climbed into the stands and fought with the Ranger fans.
It was a grizzly spectacle and one can only imagine the fallout if something of this magnitude were to happen today. A perfect illustration of how different the times were is: Terry O’Reilly, the first Bruin over the glass and clearly the most culpable, received just an eight game suspension. Eight games!!!
- The most famous Bruin was Bobby Orr who is one of the only players you can sanely make an argument for as the greatest player of all time instead of Wayne Gretzky. Orr, a defenseman, was a highly touted prospect and a star before he even played a single game for the Bruins. In his ten seasons with Boston, from 1966-1976, he revolutionized his position. Prior to the Perry Sound native, no defenseman had ever scored the way Bobby Orr could score. He became the only defenseman in league history to win the league scoring title twice in his career. In addition to the scoring titles, he won 8 consecutive Norris Trophies, as the leagues best d-man, and three consecutive Hart Trophies as the league’s MVP.
Fun Facts and Miscellaneous
- The Bruins are an Original Six team. I had always thought ‘Original Six’ was a designation attributed to the league’s original teams. It is not. The NHL started play in 1917, the Bruins did not come into the league until 1924. The Original Six is composed of the six teams that made up the league between the 1942-43 season and 1967 when the league expanded to 12 teams.
- Not really Bruins related, but the team dropped from the league prior to the start of the Original Six Era was the Brooklyn Americans which leads me to wonder why there has not been a ground swell of support for the Islanders re-branding as a reincarnation of the Americans when they move to Brooklyn?
- The Bruin’s spoked B logo is a nod to the area’s nickname “The Hub”.
- A lesser know nickname for Boston is the “Athens of America”. The name stems from many universities that populate the city and make higher education one of the cities most important trades. Maybe the Bruins should adopt a “dudes lounging in togas” logo for an alternate uniform.
- The Bruins were the first team to use a zamboni.
- They were also the team with the NHL’s first black player, Willie O’Ree who played with the team in parts of the 1957-58 and 1960-61 seasons.
- Blades the Bruin is the team mascot.
- The Bruins’ goal song (one of the best in the league) is Kernkraft 400 Sports Remix by Zombie Nation:
- The Bruins have a number of famous fans including Ben Affleck, Mindy Kaling, Eli Roth, Dane Cook, Jim Gaffigan and Mark McGrath (no relation).
- Actor Denis Leary is the undisputed die hard among the bunch. A huge hockey fan in general, Leary has his own rink, a shed full of Bruins memorabilia and a homemade zamboni.
- Owner Jeremy Jacobs repeatedly shows up on lists of sports’ most hated owners. Jacobs has owned the team since 1975 and his disinclination to spend money has soured fans feelings towards him. Recently he has also been painted as the villain in the leagues last two lockouts, drawing the ire of NHL fans everywhere.
If you have made it this far, I hope that at the very least you are now aware that a professional hockey team exists in Boston and they are named the Bruins. If you now have this knowledge then I have done my job.