The Bruins are one of the Original Six teams, along with the Detroit Red Wings, Chicago Blackhawks, Montreal Canadiens, New York Rangers, and Toronto Maple Leafs. The Bruins have won six Stanley Cup championships, tied for fourth-most of any team with the Blackhawks, and tied for second-most for an NHL team based in the United States, also with the Blackhawks (after the Red Wings, who have 11).
The first facility to host the Bruins was the Boston Arena (now known as Matthews Arena), the world's oldest (built 1909–10) indoor ice hockey facility still in use for the sport at any level of competition. 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, when they moved to the TD Garden.
In 1924, at the convincing of Boston grocery magnate Charles Adams, the National Hockey League decided to expand to the United States. Adams had come to greatly enjoy ice hockey while watching the 1924 Stanley Cup Finals between the NHL champion Montreal Canadiens and the WCHL champion Calgary Tigers. The previous year in 1923, Thomas Duggan received options on three NHL franchises for the United States, and he sold one to Charles Adams, who in turn, persuaded the NHL to grant him a franchise for the city of Boston, which occurred on November 1, 1924. With the Montreal Maroons, the team was one of the NHL's first expansion teams, and the first NHL team to be based in the United States. Adams' first act was to hire Art Ross, a former star player and innovator, as general manager. Ross was the face of the franchise for the next thirty years, including four separate stints as coach.
Adams directed Ross to come up with a nickname that would portray an untamed animal displaying speed, agility and cunning. Ross came up with "Bruins", a name for brown bears used in classic folk tales (from the Dutch "Bruin", the name of the bear in Reynard the Fox, literal meaning "brown"). The team's bearlike nickname also went along with the team's original uniform colors of brown and yellow, which came from Adams' grocery chain, First National Stores.
The 1930s Bruins teams included Shore, Thompson, Clapper, Babe Siebert and Cooney Weiland. The team led the league's standings five times in the decade. In 1939, the team changed its uniform colors from brown and yellow to the current black and gold, and captured the second Stanley Cup in franchise history. That year, Thompson was traded for rookie goaltender Frank Brimsek. Brimsek had an award-winning season, capturing the Vezina and Calder Trophies, becoming the first rookie named to the NHL First All-Star Team, and earning the nickname "Mr. Zero." The team skating in front of Brimsek included Bill Cowley, Shore, Clapper and "Sudden Death" Mel Hill (who scored three overtime goals in one playoff series), together with the "Kraut Line" of center Milt Schmidt, right winger Bobby Bauer and left winger Woody Dumart.
In 1940 Shore was traded to the struggling New York Americans for his final NHL season. In 1941 the Bruins won their third Stanley Cup after losing only eight games and finishing first in the regular season. It was their last Stanley Cup for 29 years. World War II affected the Bruins more than most teams; Brimsek and the "Krauts" all enlisted after the 1940–41 Cup win, and lost the most productive years of their careers at war. Cowley, assisted by veteran player Clapper and Busher Jackson, was the team's remaining star.