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The Boston Bruins are a professional ice hockey team based in Boston, Massachusetts. They are members of the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference of the National Hockey League (NHL).
The team has been in existence since 1924, and is the league’s third-oldest team and is the oldest in the United States. It is also an Original Six franchise, along with the Chicago Blackhawks, Detroit Red Wings, Montreal Canadiens, New York Rangers and Toronto Maple Leafs.
The Bruins have won six Stanley Cup championships, tied for fourth most of all-time with the Blackhawks and tied second-most of any American NHL team also with the Blackhawks (behind the Red Wings, who have 11). Their home arena is the TD Garden, where they have played since 1995.
The Bruins began play in the NHL on December 1, 1924. The first facility to host them was what was then known as the Boston Arena (today’s Matthews Arena) — the world’s oldest (built 1909–10) indoor ice hockey facility still in use for the sport at any level of competition — and following the Bruins’ departure from the Boston Arena, the team played its home games at the Boston Garden for 67 seasons, beginning in 1928 and concluding in 1995.
In the 2013–14 season, the Bruins won the Presidents’ Trophy after finishing first in the newly formed Atlantic Division with a record of 54–19–9 for 117 points. Their regular season success, however, would not translate into another Eastern Conference Finals appearance. Despite winning their first-round series against the Detroit Red Wings, the team fell to the Canadiens in seven games in the Eastern Conference Semifinals during the 2014 playoffs.
In the 2014–15 season, the Bruins finished with a record of 41–27–14 for 96 points, missing out on the playoffs by just two points after the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Ottawa Senators clinched the final two playoff spots in the East. The Bruins therefore became only the third team to miss the playoffs after winning the Presidents’ Trophy in the previous season.
The 96 points they earned that season broke the record for the most points earned by a team that did not make the playoffs; the Colorado Avalanche finished with 95 points in the 2006–07, which was the previous record.
On April 15, 2015, Chiarelli was fired by the Boston Bruins. On May 20, the Bruins named former player Don Sweeney as the team’s new general manager for the 2015–16 season. One recent all-time franchise achievement the Bruins attained in the 2015–16 season is shared by only their greatest rival, the Canadiens – a total of 3,000 wins in the team’s existence, achieved by the Bruins on January 8, 2016 in a 4–1 road victory against the New Jersey Devils.
The team was seen as a playoff contender throughout the regular season. However, a sub-.500 record on home ice and frequent road losses in the final two months of the regular season resulted in a three-way battle for the final playoff spot in the East. The Bruins had a chance to clinch the final playoff berth with a win over the Ottawa Senators on the second-to-last day of the season, but they lost the game.
That loss, combined with a Flyers’ win over the Penguins, knocked the Bruins out of playoff contention in favor of the Flyers. For the first time since the two seasons following the 2004–05 lockout, the Bruins did not qualify for the playoffs in two consecutive seasons.
Team founder Charles Adams owned the team until 1936, when he transferred his stock his son Weston Adams, general manager and minority owner Art Ross and minority owner Ralph Burkard. Weston Adams remained majority owner until 1951, when the Boston Garden-Arena Corporation purchased controlling interest in the team. Under the Garden-Arena Corporation’s management, Boston Celtics founder Walter A. Brown ran the team from 1951 until his death in 1964. After Brown’s death, Weston Adams returned to the role of team president. In 1969, he was succeeded by his son, Weston Adams, Jr.
On December 7, 1973, Storer Broadcasting, owner of WSBK-TV, and the Garden-Arena Corporation agreed to a merger which resulted in Storer acquiring a 100% interest in the Bruins. Adams remained as team president.
In August 1975, Storer Broadcasting then sold the team to an ownership group headed by Jeremy Jacobs. Jacobs had to promise to keep Bobby Orr as a condition of the purchase. The Bruins and Orr reached a verbal agreement with Jacobs during the summer of 1975, including a controversial agreement for Orr to take an 18.5% share of the Bruins after his playing days were over. The agreement was to be checked out as to whether it would be legal for tax reasons and whether or not the League would approve it. However, Orr’s agent, the later-notorious Alan Eagleson, rejected the deal.
Jacobs represents the club on the NHL’s Board of Governors, and serves on its Executive Committee, and he has chaired the Finance Committee. At the NHL Board of Governors meeting in June 2007, Jacobs was elected chairman of the Board, replacing the Calgary Flames’ Harley Hotchkiss, who stepped down after 12 years in the position. Jacobs has frequently been listed by the Sports Business Journal as one of the most influential people in sports in its annual poll and by Hockey News. His company owns TD Garden and he is partners with John Henry, owner of Major League Baseball’s Boston Red Sox, in the New England Sports Network (NESN).
After taking over as owner in 1975, the Bruins have been competitive (making the playoffs for 29-straight seasons from 1967–68 to 1995–96, 20 of which were with Jacobs as owner) but have won the Stanley Cup only once, in 2011 and only in his 36th year as owner. Under previous ownerships, the Bruins had won the Stanley Cup five times. Under Jacobs, the Bruins have reached the Stanley Cup Final six times (twice against the Bruins’ arch-rival Montreal Canadiens in 1977 and 1978, twice against the Edmonton Oilers in 1988 and 1990, finally winning in 2011 against the Vancouver Canucks, and losing in 2013 to the Chicago Blackhawks). Jacobs’ management of the team in the past earned him spots on ESPN.com’s “Page 2” polls of “The Worst Owners in Sports,” and No.7 on their 2005 “Greediest Owners In sports” list. Sports Illustrated has suggested longtime star defenseman Ray Bourque, who “often drawn the ire of the NHLPA for his willingness to re-sign with Boston with minimal negotiations over the years” instead of setting the “watermark for defenseman salaries”, requested and received a trade in 2000 since the team’s “hardline and spendthrift ways” meant he would have to make the move to get his elusive Stanley Cup (Bourque holds the record for most games played before winning the Cup). Prior to the NHL Collective Bargaining Agreement signed in 2005, fans felt team management was not willing to spend to win the Stanley Cup.
Since 2005, Jacobs’ public image has improved as he invested in the team and rebuilding the front office to make the team more competitive. The Bruins were the second highest ranked team in the NHL in the 2008–09 season and were the top seeded team in the East. With a complete change in management, including now former General Manager Peter Chiarelli — who lost his position with the Bruins on April 15, 2015, with the May 20 hiring of Don Sweeney — long-time assistant general manager with the team. Sweeney will continue to work with current Head Coach Claude Julien, with Cam Neely continuing as team president after only four seasons had elapsed since the Bruins’ most recent Stanley Cup victory in 2011. The current administrators in the Bruins front office are:
Jeremy Jacobs: Owner
Charlie Jacobs: Principal
Don Sweeney: General Manager
Cam Neely: President
Harry Sinden: Senior Advisor to the Owner
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