Walter Brown shared the same passion for sports as his father, George V. Brown, one of the pioneers of hockey in the United States. After succeeding his father as manager of the Boston Garden, in 1937, he expanded his influence overseas and into a multitude of sports and entertainment activities.
The Boston native worked constantly to promote hockey in the Boston area and was a major booster of the high school and college game. He often arranged to take amateur teams to Europe for tournaments and exhibition tours. He coached the amateur Boston Olympics to five national titles between 1930 and 1940. Included in this was a stunning 2-1 win over Canada when this club brought the United States its first ever world Championship in 1933. Brown also guided the United States to the silver medal at the 1931 and 1934 world championships and a bronze at the 1936 Olympics at Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany.
When the financially troubled Boston Bruins were taken over by the Boston Garden Corporation in 1951, Brown became the team's president and helped stabilize matters on and off the ice. As the decade wore on, he focused on giving the United States a higher profile in international hockey circles. He worked hard to foster a strong relationship with the International Ice Hockey Federation and served as the vice-president of that body twice and the president from 1954-57. In 1960 he was the chairman of the United States squad that won gold at the Squaw Valley Olympics.
Brown was a rarity in hockey at this time since he was respected in both the amateur and professional circles. His gift of diplomacy and sincere love of the game served him well when dealing with these often juxtaposed interests.
Diversity and varied skills were among Brown's finest qualities. He worked on the Hockey Hall of Fame Governing Committee, was chairman of the Basketball Hall of Fame, and worked hard to make the Boston Bruins competitive and the NBA's Boston Celtics a dynasty. Under his management the Boston Garden was the scene of wide range of sporting promotions such as indoor ski jumping which attracted the world's top Olympians. He also founded the Ice Follies and Ice Capades and was a supporter of the Variety Club of America, the Boys Clubs of Boston and the Boy Scouts of America.
Brown's passing in 1964 touched a great many people. A few days after his death, a round-robin tournament was initiated in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Teams representing Canada, the Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia and the United States were brought together to compete for the Walter A. Brown Memorial trophy. In his home area, the annual Walter Brown Award was established in recognition of the top American-born player attending a New England college.
He was elected into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1962.