Guest Author - Kevin Thorburn
The NHL’s Boston Bruins played their first game 1 December 1924 with a 2-1 victory over the Montreal Maroons. That victory set off what would be a hugely successful franchise with countless fanatics worldwide, but most beloved in the New England states. The Bruins were the first US based National Hockey League team.
Over their history they have won five Stanley Cup Championships: 1928-29; 1938-39; 1940-41; 1969-70; and 1971-72.
As an original six team, the team has seen a lot of superstars don the black and gold. The legendary Bobby Orr is considered one of (if not the best) the best ever to play. Joining him among the elite are names such as Eddie Shore, Marty Barry, Bobby Bauer, Leo Boivin, Ray Bourque, Frank Brimsek, Johnny Bucyk, Billy Burch, Gerry Cheevers, Dit Clapper, Sprague Cleghorn, Paul Coffey, Roy Conacher, Bun Cook, Bill Cowley, Cy Denneny, Woody Dumart, Phil Esposito, Fernie Flaman, Frank Frederickson, Busher Jackson, Tom Johnson, Duke Keats, Guy Lapointe, Harry Lumley, Mickey Mackay, Sylvio Mantha, Joe Mullen, Cam Neely, Harry Oliver, Brad Park, Bernie Parent, Jacque Plante, Babe Pratt, Bill Quackenbush, Jean Ratelle, Terry Sawchuk, Milt Schmidt, Babe Siebert, Hooley Smith, Allan Stanley, Nels Stewart, Tiny Thompson and Cooney Weiland who are all members of the Hockey Hall of Fame as players. Under the builders category the following franchise personnel join these hall of famers: Charles Adams, Weston Adams, Sr., Walter Brown, Frank Patrick, Art Ross and Harry Sinden.
Ten team members have had their numbers retired: number 2 – Eddie Shore; number 3 – Lionel Hitchman; number 4 – Bobby Orr; number 5 – Aubrey “Dit” Clapper; number 7 – Phil Esposito; number 8 – Cam Neely; number 9 – Johnny Bucyk; number 15 – Milt Schmidt; number 24 – Terry O’Reilly; and number 77 – Ray Bourque.
Boston has initiated a number of firsts over their history including Lionel Hitchman’s number being retired in 1934; the 1962 signing of the first American born player – Tom Williams from the Olympic gold medal winning 1960 United States team; and, most significant, the first black player to play in the NHL was Willie O’Ree in 1958.
The Bruins certainly have a rich and vibrant past and only hope that players such as Tim Thomas, Zdeno Chara, Glen Murray, Patrice Bergeron and Marc Savard can help make the future bright as fans watch in anticipation for another championship.