Did you ever wonder why the Bruins wear black and gold? Or why the color brown featured so prominently in their team colors during the early years of the Original Six franchise?
A bit of fair warning: You might need an advanced degree in supermarket history trivia to really know the answers to these questions when quizzed at the checkout.
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Here’s the inside scoop: wealthy Vermont native Charles Adams owned pretty high-profile things in Boston including the Suffolk Downs racetrack and the original Boston Braves franchise in Major League Baseball.
But the most important — and profitable — was actually the country’s original supermarket chain, First National, or Finast as it was known in the northeastern United States for much of the early 20th century. The company lasted into the 1990s, but its heyday was during the early part of the century when Adams was making his name as an Boston entrepreneur.
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When Adams secured the rights to start Boston’s NHL franchise in 1924, naturally his initial order of business was to decide on the team’s colors. And this is where things got a little funky when it came to Adams’ quirks coming to the surface with the team uniforms.
Adams chose brown and gold sweaters to match the color scheme of his Finast stores and settled on the Old English name for a bear, Bruins. The story behind the story is that every living animal Charles Adams had and owned on his farm property — horses, cows, dogs, pigs, hens — were all his favorite color: brown.
So there was little doubt that the color brown was going to factor into the B’s color scheme just as it did in everything about his supermarket chain.
The team's colors remained that way for the first 10 years of the franchise until 1934 when they shifted to the striking black and gold that’s been synonymous with the Original Six franchise for almost 90 years. Apparently, Weston Adams, the son of Charles Adams and the next owner of the Bruins in the Adams family hockey business, was not nearly as enamored with the color brown, and the Bruins have been in black and gold ever since.
So now when you see those brown and gold throwback sweaters at a Winter Classic or at an old-time hockey event, you’ll know exactly why the Bruins started off with those colors.
And you can all be thankful that eventually they switched out the brown for the much cooler black color scheme choice that’s become an integral part of the Big Bad Bruins tradition for as long as they have been throwing fists and doling out bone-rattling body checks.