Flyers at 50: 50 Years of Memories

Flyers history 50

By Mike Watson, Sports Talk Philly staff writer 

As the Flyers organization and the thousands of faithful fans celebrate the 50th anniversary season of this great franchise, let’s look back on some of the notable and memorable moments along the way.

First, it all started with the vision of the late Ed Snider, the founder of the Flyers and the face of the organization since the team's inception. He placed a National Hockey League franchise in South Philadelphia in 1967, when his peers said it wouldn’t work, and it has since become a vital part of the fabric of the city and the entire Delaware Valley. It has since created thousands of jobs, hundreds of youth hockey programs and dozens of charities.

From the dogged pursuit of initial financing, eventually from Girard Bank, to the goliath that is Comcast Spectacor, Ed never stopped creating, improving and investing in the Delaware Valley, its community, its people, and of course, his beloved Flyers.

Thank you Ed. We are all forever grateful.

Since that very first Flyers game — October 11, 1967 to now — there have been hundreds, if not thousands, of memories. I’ve chosen 50 of my own for this article along a timeline — the good, bad and everything in between. I invite you to leave a comment about one that may be on the list, or one that sticks out in your mind that may not be on the list. In future weeks, we'll be reliving many memories individually as well, inviting you to share in the history of the Philadelphia Flyers.

  • In the inaugural season, the roof blowing off the Spectrum, to where the last seven home games were played in Quebec
  • Goaltender Doug Favell’s Orange Halloween goalie mask
  • The trading of Bernie Parent to Toronto, then re-acquiring him after the Philadelphia Blazers (WHA) folded
  • The leap by Bobby Clarke after his Game 2 overtime goal against the Boston Bruins in the 73-74 Stanley Cup Final
  • Gene Hart’s call as the clock hit zero “The Flyers are going to win the Stanley Cup!" — Game 6 of the 73-74 Finals
  • “God Bless America” – Kate Smith
  • Freddie “The Fog” Shero — “Win today and walk together forever.”
  • Speaking of Fog, the fog at “The Aud” in Buffalo — Stanley Cup Final, 1975
  • Bob “The Hound” Kelly and his wraparound goal — Stanley Cup Final, 1975
  • Two huge parades down Broad Street
  • Bumper stickers that read “only God saves more than Bernie.”
  • Dave "The Hammer" Schultz and his "Penalty Box" song
  • Destroying the Soviet Red Army on National TV — January 1976
  • The late Barry Ashbee and his battle with Leukemia in 1977 and the Fight for Lives Carnival, renamed after its first year, to raise money in the fight against Leukemia
  • The unfortunate, inadvertent stick of defenseman Jimmy Watson, clipping Bernie Parent in the eye hole of his mask, causing sight damage and his eventual retirement
  • Player/assistant coach Bob Clarke and new Flyers captain Mel Bridgman — 1980
  • The 35-game unbeaten streak (25-0-10) — October 1979 to January 1980.
  • Linesman Leon Stickle and his no call on the obvious offside — 1980
  • The long black “Cooper-all” pants of 1982-83
  • “Flocky Hockey” – Ron Flockhart
  • Dave Leonardi, better known as “Sign Man.” My favorite "Snap, Crackle, Propp"
  • A 5-on-3 shorthanded breakaway goal by Dave Poulin on Quebec’s Mario Gosselin – 1985
  • The tragic loss of Pelle Lindbergh — 1985
  • Ron Hextall scoring his first goal into the empty net at the Spectrum vs. Boston — December 1987
  • J.J Daigneault’s point shot past Grant Fuhr in Game 6 — 1987 Stanley Cup Final
  • Glenn Anderson’s shot through Hextall’s legs in Game 7 — 1987 Stanley Cup Final
  • Hextall charging and tackling Chris Chelios in the waning moments of a Game 6 loss as retribution for a hit on Brian Propp earlier in the 1989 playoff series
  • The “Guffaw” by Brian Propp after scoring a goal
  • Flyers legendary voices: Gene Hart, Lauren Hart and Lou Nolan
  • The mega trade with Quebec to acquire the rights to Eric Lindros
  • The Crazy Eights: Lindros, Mark Recchi and Brent Fedyk
  • The Legion of Doom" Lindros, John LeClair and Mikael Renberg
  • Press conference quote "a choking situation" by Terry Murray — 1997 Stanley Cup Final
  • Brian Boucher’s spinning save on his back on Patrik Elias of the Devils — 2000
  • Keith Primeau’s goal against Pittsburgh in the fifth overtime — 2000
  • Bobby Clarke’s quote “What are we doing, selling wheat?” to reporters about trade demands by Eric Lindros
  • Chris Falcone falls into the penalty box and takes on Tie Domi
  • Jeremy Roenick’s overtime goal against Ed Belfour and the Maple Leafs — 2004 playoffs
  • “Deuces Wild” line of Peter Forsberg, Simon Gagne and Mike Knuble
  • The acquisition of Chris Pronger
  • The rise and fall of Mike Richards and Jeff Carter
  • Gagne’s game winner in Game 7 against Boston, “The Boston Strangler” to complete the historic comeback from a 3-0 deficit — 2010 Playoffs
  • The nauseating feeling of “How did that go in?” Patrick Kane and Michael Leighton — 2010 Stanley Cup Finals
  • The subsequent signing of Ilya Bryzgalov a few months later
  • Winter Classic at Citizens Bank Park — January 2, 2012
  • Claude Giroux’s ridiculous “dangle” shootout goal against Toronto
  • #HartnellDown
  • Michal Neuvirth’s game saving stick save against the Minnesota Wild — February 2016
  • The dump in from 150 feet that beat Steve Mason against the Washington Capitals — 2016 Playoffs
  • Flyers "acquisitions" that didn’t quite work out: Pat Falloon, Alexander Daigle, Chris Gratton, Pavel Brendl, Jiri Dopita, Jeff Hackett, Sean Burke, Petr Nedved.