Charles Adams (ice hockey)

Charles Francis Adams (October 18, 1876 – October 2, 1947) was an American businessman and sports promoter who was the owner of the Boston Bruins, Boston Braves, Suffolk Downs, and The First National grocery store chain.

Charles Adams
Born(1876-10-18)October 18, 1876
DiedOctober 2, 1947(1947-10-02) (aged 70)
OccupationAmerican businessman, sports team owner
Board member ofBoston Bruins
Suffolk Downs
Boston Braves
Parent(s)Frank Adams
Elizabeth Benoit

Early lifeEdit

Adams was born in Newport, Vermont on October 18, 1876 to Frank and Elizabeth (Benoit) Adams. His family struggled financially and at a young age Adams took a job as a chore boy at a corner grocery store to help subsidize the family's income. As a teenager Adams purchased logs for his father's sawmill.[1]

Grocery careerEdit

After graduating from Jenney Business College in Enosburgh, Vermont, Adams moved to Springfield, Vermont where he worked for his uncle Oscar Adams' wholesale grocery business. After working for a time as a traveling grocer and tobacco salesman, Adams moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he became treasurer of the New England Maple Syrup Company. He later worked for the Fitzgerald, Hubbard & Company banking and brokerage firm.[1]

Adams left Fitzgerald, Hubbard & Company to work for the John T. Connor Company, which later became the First National Store Finast chain.[1]


Boston BruinsEdit

Adams was an avid hockey fan, watching amateur hockey in Boston and traveling to Montreal to watch professional hockey. After a scandal involving Boston amateur hockey players resulted in many Boston fans becoming disenchanted with amateur hockey, Adams decided to try to bring professional hockey to the United States. On November 1, 1924, Adams was awarded the Bruins franchise for $15,000.[1]

In 1926 Adams bought the entire Western Canada Hockey League from Frank Patrick and Lester Patrick for $300,000. This gave the Bruins the rights to Eddie Shore, Harry Oliver, Duke Keats, and Frank Boucher. To ensure the team had a fitting arena to play in, Adams guaranteed[2] $500,000 toward the construction of the Boston Garden.[1]

Under his leadership the Bruins won their first Stanley Cup in 1929.[1]

In 1936 he transferred his stock to his son Weston Adams and minority owners Art Ross and Ralph Burkard.[3]

Boston BravesEdit

On May 15, 1927, Charles Adams bought out the shares of Albert H. Powell to become a minority owner and vice-president of the Boston Braves.[4][5] In 1935, after Emil Fuchs' attempt to revive interest in the team by signing Babe Ruth failed, Adams demanded that Fuchs either step down as President or buy out his shares. On July 31, 1935, Emil Fuchs forfeited his shares to Charles F. Adams, who planned to sell the team as soon as possible.[6] On November 26, the National League took over control of the Braves due to the club's failure to fulfill its contractual obligations.[7] The club was awarded to Bob Quinn on December 10. Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis did not allow Adams to be part of the new ownership group due to his stake in Suffolk Downs.[8]

Suffolk DownsEdit

Adams was the head of Eastern Racing Association, the syndicate that founded Suffolk Downs.[9][10] He remained involved with the race track until 1945, when he sold his shares for $4 million.[11]

Death and legacyEdit

Adams died in Boston on October 2, 1947, 16 days before his 71st birthday, after a long illness.[12]

He was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1960.

The NHL's Adams Division was formed in 1974 as part of the Prince of Wales Conference. The division existed for 19 seasons until 1993. It was named in honor of Adams. The Bruins were a member of the Adams Division for the entirety of its existence, winning nine division titles and appearing in four Stanley Cup Finals in that time. It was succeeded by the Northeast Division, which was dissolved with the league's 2013 realignment, and can be considered the fore-runner of the NHL's current Atlantic Division.

Adams was inducted into the Vermont Sports Hall of Fame in 2013.[13]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Charles Francis Adams". Retrieved 5 February 2012.
  2. ^ Fischler, Stan; Fischler, Shirley (2003). Who's Who in Hockey. Kansas City: Andrews McMeel. p. 4. ISBN 0740719041.
  3. ^ "Boston Bruins in New Hands". The Boston Daily Globe. October 10, 1936.
  4. ^ "Charles F. Adams Buys Powell Stock In Boston Braves". The Hartford Courant. May 16, 1927.
  5. ^ O'Leary, James (May 16, 1927). "Boston Men Buy Share in Braves". Boston Daily Globe.
  6. ^ King, Bill (August 1, 1935). "Fuch's Move Is No Surprise; To Find Purchaser". Associated Press. Retrieved 5 February 2012.
  7. ^ "Boston Braves' Franchise Taken Over By National League". Associated Press. November 26, 1935. Retrieved 5 February 2012.
  8. ^ "National League Sets Quinn Up With Braves". Associated Press. December 10, 1935. Retrieved 5 February 2012.
  9. ^ "$2.000,000 Race Track in Boston Holds Inaugural". Associated Press. July 10, 1935. Retrieved 5 February 2012.
  10. ^ "Still Making History". Suffolk Downs. Archived from the original on 10 September 2015. Retrieved 5 February 2012.
  11. ^ "Charles Adams, Chain Store Magnate, Dies". Associated Press. October 2, 1947. Retrieved 5 February 2012.
  12. ^ "Charles Adams Dies in Boston". Associated Press. October 2, 1947. Retrieved 5 February 2012.
  13. ^ Vermont Sports Hall of Fame Bio

External linksEdit

Preceded by
President of the Boston Bruins
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Boston Bruins principal owner
Succeeded by
Preceded by President of Suffolk Downs
Succeeded by
Preceded by President of Suffolk Downs
Succeeded by