Wednesday, March 29, 2017

1928-29 Boston Bruins Harry Oliver Jersey

Charles Adams fell in love with professional hockey while attending the 1924 Stanley Cup Finals between the NHL's Montreal Canadiens and the Calgary Tigers of the WCHL. Wanting a team of his own, he convinced the NHL to expand into the United States for the first time for the 1924-25 season.

Charles Adams
Charles Adams

His first order of business was to hire Art Ross as his general manager, a post Ross would remain in for 30 years. It was Ross who coined the name "Boston Bruins" after being challenged by Adams to come up with a name of an animal for the team that would represent speed, agility and cunning. The club's original colors of brown and yellow were taken from Adams' grocery store chain, First National Stores.

1928-29 Boston Bruins logo

The Bruins played their first game on December 1, 1924 against their fellow expansion brothers that season, the Maroons, with the Bruins prevailing 2-1. The opening night victory flattered to deceive, as the Bruins would win just five more games that season on their way to a last place finish and a 6-24-0 record. Jimmy Herbert led the team in scoring by a wide margin, with his 17 goals in 30 games accounting for 35% of the Bruins 49 goals that season. His 22 points far outdistanced the next player who managed a paltry 8!

1924-25 Boston Bruins team
The inaugural 1924-25 Boston Bruins

The Bruins began life in the Boston Arena for the first four years of their existence prior to moving into their long time home, the Boston Garden. Of note: the Boston Arena would become property of Northeastern University and, while renamed the Matthews Arena in 1982, remains the oldest surviving indoor ice arena still in use in the world.

The Bruins improved during their second season 0f 1925-26 in the now seven team NHL, but still finished outside the playoffs by but a single point despite their winning record of 17-15-4. Carson Cooper, with 28 goals, and Herbert, with 26, tied for the team scoring lead of 31 points.

Bruins 25-26
The 1925-26 Boston Bruins

In 1926-27, the NHL divided itself into two divisions, with the Bruins in the new "American" division, with their success having opened the floodgates of the United States market with two teams now in New York, with both the Rangers and Americans sharing Madison Square Garden, and one each in Chicago, Pittsburgh and Detroit.

The Bruins came second in the division behind the Rangers with a 21-20-3 record, led by Harry Oliver's 18 goals and 24 points. A new arrival to the Bruins roster would come in the form of the legendary Eddie Shore, a rough and tough future Hall of Famer who would play for the club until 1940 while wreaking havoc across the league in the name of victories for the Bruins.

Shore Boston
Eddie Shore

In the playoffs for the first time, the Bruins would defeat the Chicago Black Hawks 6-1 and 4-4 to win their two-game, total-goal series 10-5. Playing the same format, they would eliminate the Rangers after a scoreless tie in Boston with a 3-1 win on the road to advance to the Stanley Cup Finals in their first try.

1926-27 Boston Bruins team
The 1926-27 Boston Bruins

The finalsthe first contested by two NHL clubs, were a best-of-five versus the Ottawa Senators. However, the first game was played to a scoreless tie. Ottawa won 3-1 before another tie, this time 1-1. Ottawa wrapped up the championship with another 3-1 win, taking the best-of-five by the unusual margin of 2-0-2.

The Bruins captured their first division title in 1927-28 with 20 wins, 13 losses and 11 ties as Oliver again led the club in scoring with 18 points, one more than defenseman Shore at 17. Another legendary Bruin, Dit Clapper, would join the club that season and remain with the Bruins for 20 years. The Rangers got their revenge and knocked the Bruins out of the playoffs with a 1-1 draw and a 4-1 win in Boston.

1927-28 Boston Bruins team
The 1927-28 Boston Bruins

The Bruins again won the American Division in 1928-29 with a 26-13-5 record which included going undefeated for all of January (11-0-2). Oliver remained in his familiar place atop the scoring table with 17 goals and 23 points in 43 games.

1928-29 Boston Bruins team
The 1928-29 Boston Bruins

Their division title earned them a first round bye in the playoffs. In the second round, goaltender Tiny Thompson shut out the Montreal Canadiens 1-0 and again 1-0 in the first two games and the Bruins closed out the series with a 3-2 win.

Awaiting them in the finals were the Rangers, and the Bruins dispatched them with a 2-0 win at home in Game 1. Game 2, on this date in 1929, saw Oliver score the Bruins first goal and then he assisted on Bill Carson's game winner in a 2-1 win in New York to capture the first Stanley Cup in franchise history as Boston became the last team for 23 years to finish the playoffs undefeated.

Harry Oliver Bruins
Harry Oliver

Today's featured jersey is a 1928-29 Boston Bruins Harry Oliver jersey from the Bruins first Stanley Cup winning season.

Oliver played 16 seasons, five with the Tigers of the WCHL before joining the Bruins for the 1926-27 season. A right winger, he would play with Boston for eight seasons, scoring double digit goals for the first seven with a high of 18 his first season. He would finish his career with three seasons for the New York Americans and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1987 having scored 127 goals in 212 games and won a Stanley Cup in 1929.

The Bruins began life with a brown jersey with two gold arm stripes and one waist stripe. They played their second season with a loud white jersey with wide brown and gold striping which was used only during the 1925-26 season.

By eliminating the white spaces between the brown and gold stripes, the jersey became much easier on the eyes and the Bruins agreed, sticking with this style from 1926-27 through 1931-32, which included winning the Stanley Cup on this date in 1929. After a change to a new style in 1932-33, the brown and gold colors would last two more seasons until the club changed to black and gold in 1934-35.

Boston Bruins 1928-29 F jersey
Boston Bruins 1928-29 B jersey
photo courtesy of Classic Auctions

Bonus jersey: Today's bonus jersey is a 1929-30 Boston Bruins Eddie Shore jersey. Sharp eyed readers will notice a Boston Cubs patch on the left sleeve, as this particular sweater was worn by Shore for two seasons until being handed down to the Bruins minor league team, the Cubs and worn by player Byron Johnson, whose family retained possession of the jersey until recently, when it was auctioned off for $119,500.

Boston Bruins 1929-30 F jersey
Boston Bruins 1929-30 B jersey
photos courtesy of Heritage Auctions

Today's video section begins with a look back at the history of the Boston Bruins franchise.

Next, a 15 minute film on the career of Shore, a rich topic worthy of much more than we can provide here in this format.

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