Boston Bruins - Greatest Sports Franchises

Founded in 1924, the Boston Bruins are one of the Original Six NHL teams. They’ve been winning Stanley Cups and setting records since early in their existence, and in fact the 1929-30 season saw them set the best-ever regular season winning percentage. Eventually, with the help of players like Bobby Orr, Ray Bourque, Phil Esposito, Gerry Cheevers and Cam Neely, the team had success again. Who can forget the team’s 2011 Cup win on the strength of Zdeno Chara, Tim Thomas, Milan Lucic and many others? In this video, continues our series on the Greatest Sports Franchises of All Time with a look at the Boston Bruins.

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The History of the Boston Bruins

This NHL team set the record for best-ever regular season winning percentage in 1929-30. Welcome to, and today we’ll be continuing our series of the most successful sports franchises with a look at the Boston Bruins.

Original Six

As an Original Six team, the Bruins have been in the NHL since 1924, when Boston grocery magnate Charles Adams persuaded the league to expand.

First Stanley Cup

Former player Art Ross was hired as General Manager, and he signed the club’s first star: defenseman Eddie Shore helped the Bruins win their first Stanley Cup in 1928-29. The following season, the Bruins win percentage was an unprecedented .875, with 38 wins out of 44 games. However, Boston lost the final that year to division rivals the Montreal Canadiens.

More Cup Wins

The Bruins won the Cup in 1939, and again in 1941, and that year they lost only eight games in the regular season. However, the 1941 win was their last Stanley Cup for 29 years.

Breaking the Color Barrier

World War II decimated the Bruins, who mustered only four winning seasons between 1947 and 1967. However, during that period, they broke the NHL color barrier by introducing Willie O’Ree as the league’s first black player on January 18th, 1958.


After being forced to sell the Bruins to Boston Celtics owner Walter Brown, Charles Adams’ son Weston bought the team back in 1964 and began rebuilding.

Bobby Orr and Phil Esposito

He signed Bobby Orr, who entered the league in 1966 to become one of the greatest players of all time. The Bruins then acquired Ken Hodge, Fred Stanfield and Phil Esposito from Chicago. Esposito became the first NHL player to break the 100-point mark. Today he remains one of the only players to win the Art Ross Trophy four seasons in a row.

End of the Drought

With the addition of goaltender Gerry Cheevers, the Bruins began dominating the league between the ‘60s and ‘80s. In 1970, they ended their Cup drought.

Bobby Orr’s Award Streak

Bobby Orr’s game-winning, overtime goal was a memorable one. He then won the James Norris Memorial Trophy as the top defenseman, the Art Ross scoring title, the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP and the Hart Memorial Trophy as the regular season MVP.

Great Season, But Cup Loss

The Bruins registered one of their best seasons during 1970-71, but lost to the Montreal Canadiens and their rookie goaltender, Ken Dryden. However, that year the Bruins had seven of the league’s top ten scorers, and four 100-point getters. They came back to win the Cup in 1972.

The “Big Bad Bruins”

The “Big Bad Bruins” toughened up significantly when Don Cherry took over as coach in 1974-75. However, they failed to win another Cup. Their rough reputation was confirmed at Madison Square Garden in 1979 when a Rangers fan stole Stan Jonathan’s stick. Terry O’Reilly stormed into the stands and began attacking spectators.

Ray Bourque and Cam Neely

During the ’79 draft, the club picked Ray Bourque, and he became one of the greatest defensemen of all time. However, even with players like Cam Neely terrorizing goalies and defensemen, Bourque failed to lead the team to a Cup. In both 1988 and 1990, the Bruins lost to the powerful Edmonton Oilers in the finals. Ultimately, Neely’s tough style led to his early retirement. Despite his injuries, he came back and scored 50 goals in a mere 49 games in 1993-94. But, by 1996, he was done.

2011 Stanley Cup Win

Boston remained competitive through the early 2000s, but brought on head coach Claude Julien in 2007 to help assemble the pieces. With forwards Patrice Bergeron, Milan Lucic, David Krejci, Tyler Seguin, defenseman Zdeno Chara and of course Tim Thomas in nets, the Bruins marched toward a Cup win in 2011.

A Competitive Force

The Boston Bruins have cultivated a reputation as an in-your-face team. With loyal fans like theirs, they will undoubtedly remain a competitive force for years to come.

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