This week, after a brief football hiatus, we are going back to hockey. Why? Well, there are two reasons. First is that I was asked really nicely by @amanada11 which means that if I don’t do what she wants, well, use your imagination. The second reason is that I know more about hockey, so I can make things up and you people will never know the difference!! Muahahahaha! OK, I don’t really make stuff up, but you get the point.
Like I was saying, this week we are going back to hockey. In fact, we are going to look into our second team from the Original Six! I know, that gets your blood pumping and excites you all a lot, so I am going to hop right into the story. But wait, I haven’t even told you whom we were talking about! I mean I figure most of you are smart enough to look at the title, but if you aren’t, that’s ok, too. This week’s team is the Boston Bruins!
It turns out that there are a lot of versions of this story, ranging from a city-wide contest to Art Ross just choosing the name himself. So, without any further ado, lets sift through the bullshit and get the facts straight so you can tell all your friends how the Bruins really got their name. Oh yeah, I know you do this every week after you read my posts.
Let’s start by qualifying some of the things that will be said in this post. From the Boston Bruins History Page, “Since November 1, 1924, the Boston Bruins have been at the epicenter of hockey in New England.” This is true, but only because they are the only NHL team in New England. I don’t want you to think that the Bruins suck or anything. I mean, they aren’t the San Francisco Seals. They have a long list of Hall-of-Famers and will continue adding to that list with their team of superstars.
I am getting ahead of myself though…
The story really begins in 1924 with a young Bostonian grocery tycoon named Charles Adams. Well Chuck went to the 1924 Stanley Cup Finals between the Montreal Canadiens and the Calgary Tigers. Before you start freaking out about who the hell the Calgary Tigers are and why were they in the Stanley Cup Finals, I will tell you. The Tigers were the Western Canada Hockey League (WCHL) champions. They ended up getting dominated by the Canadiens and no one has cared about them since.
Chuck went to the NHL immediately and persuaded them to expand to the United States. They were planning some expansion anyway, so in 1924 Boston obtained the first NHL team in the United States. Adams wanted a team that was going to win, and while he loved the sport, he did not know how to make that happen on his own. So he hired a guy by the name of Art Ross. You know, that guy who has a trophy named after him?
As it turns out, all of the stories about the naming process are true, kind of. As his first task, Ross was supposed to be in charge of finding a name. However, that’s not so easy to do on your own. So they held a city-wide naming contest. The rules were simple: the name had to be “an untamed animal whose name was synonymous with size, strength, agility, ferocity, and cunning; and in the color brown.” It turns out that Chuck wanted to kill two birds with one stone. Not only did he want a team that represented the US in the NHL but he wanted to get in some free advertising for his grocery store chain, First National Stores.
The colors used at the store were brown and yellow, so the animal that was picked from the contest had to fit in with those colors. Since yellow doesn’t really work in the animal department, unless you go with the Lions or the Giraffes. So the entries came back and an overwhelming majority of the suggestions were for “the Boston Bears.” Ross wasn’t too happy with that name, so he sat on it until his secretary offered up the Bruins.
Technically, bruins are bears. The only difference is how the word is used. The word bruin is an Old English word for brown bears that was used in classic fairy tales. While that sounds kind of lame, think of how lame the Boston Bears sounds. I’m just saying, you could do a lot worse. Fact is, after they picked the Bruins, it didn’t matter what name they had: they were winners. They proceeded to win 21 division championships, 5 Stanley Cups, and put 47 players in the Hall-of –Fame.
Some of these Hall-of-Famers you might have even heard of before. Maybe not guys like Fernie Flaman, though with an awesome name like that, I wish I did know him, but if you haven’t heard of Bobby Orr, check your pulse. You might have died 70 years ago.
Over 86 years, this team has produced some awesomeness the likes of which even Montreal fans can’t scoff at. While Habs fans may deny it, I expect to see more great stuff coming out of this team in the future!