Almost a century ago to the day, the Boston Bruins made hockey history with both a franchise first and an American first. And fittingly, it came on the first of the month — December 1st, 1924.
— Mike Commito (@mikecommito) December 1, 2020
The B’s played their first ever National Hockey League game beating the long-forgotten Montreal Maroons 2-1. In doing so, Boston became the first American city to not only gain a coveted NHL franchise, but also host the first ever professional hockey game at the old Boston Arena (TD Garden’s great grandpa, if you will).
— Jen (@NHLhistorygirl) December 1, 2020
As this Black N’ Gold blog (and blogger) have highlighted before, it was only a month before that “Charles Adams paid the NHL a rumored $15,000 and received in return a piece of paper entitling him to the first United States entry into the league,” according to the Bruins’ official website. The story continues:
“Adams, a grocery chain tycoon from Vermont, held a contest to name his NHL club, laying down several ground rules. One was that the basic colors of the team be brown with yellow trim, the color scheme of his Brookside stores. The name of the team would preferably relate to an untamed animal embodied with size, strength, agility, ferocity and cunning, while also in the color brown category. He received dozens of entries, none of which were to his satisfaction until his secretary came upon the idea of “Bruins”.
However, as surprising as it may seem to anyone around the city today, hockey was not a hot commodity at first in Boston, especially during the Winter of 1924-25. In fact, the B’s had a truly “forgettable” franchise start after their first ever victory, as detailed in a Vice retrospective from 2016:
“The Bruins… were America’s sole representative in the NHL at the time. Hockey did not quite have the same notoriety in the United States in 1924 as it does now. Despite being the hottest new ticket in Beantown, the Bruins’ first game was hardly a sellout.
The fans in attendance got to see a close game against the Maroons. Although the Bruins trailed 1-0 after the first period, they rallied back in the second frame, scoring two goals en route to defeating their fellow expansionists 2-1.
Unfortunately for the Boston faithful, that first win over the Maroons was just one of a handful the Bruins won that season. The club didn’t pick up another victory until the following year. Well, to be fair, 1925 was only a month away, but still. Following that first game, the Bruins dropped 11 straight contests. Over the course of that losing streak, Boston played more like teddy bears than bruins, posting a goal differential of -41, before it picked up a second win on Jan. 10, 1925 against the Canadiens.
Boston finished the season with an abysmal record of 6-24-0 and, unsurprisingly, did not make the postseason.”
Thankfully, that’s all history now. But, speaking of heralded history, here’s a great look back on that fateful December 1st start for the B’s as told by some of the best Boston historians, writers and former Bruins’ players, coaches & broadcasters:
December 1st, 1924 also marked a historic broadcasting “first” for the original voice of the Boston Bruins, Frank Ryan. As described in a brilliant Boston Globe article from 2018:
“It was Monday night, and the Bruins were playing at the Boston Arena, the team’s home rink on St. Botolph Street. (The Boston Garden had not been built yet.) The inaugural game failed to draw a large crowd — according to one estimate, only 1,340 people showed up — but thanks to the WBZ radio broadcast, many more hockey fans got to hear Ryan’s voice over the airwaves describing the body checks and scuffles on the ice that night, as well as the pair of goals that propelled the B’s to their first-ever NHL victory, beating the Montreal Maroons by a score of 2 to 1.”
If you’ve heard of the name Frank Ryan before, it may be because you remember this Broadcasting the Bruins article from the BN’G back in the Summer of 2018! History has a way of repeating itself, doesn’t it?
On This Day In Bruins History, December 1st, 1924, the “original” voice of the @NHLBruins debuted: Frank Ryan! He called the game between the B’s and Montreal Maroons over the @wbz airwaves. Learn more about this epic date in B’s history at @BlackNGoldPod blog! #NHLBruins #NHL pic.twitter.com/PYYt0VKO1P
— Evan Michael (@00EvanMichael) December 1, 2020
Nevertheless, when it comes to the history of the Boston Bruins, this fanbase should be proud. Because on this day, and countless others, the B’s have certainly given us plenty to remember & celebrate!