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Honoring 'Enforcers' On and Off the Ice

By Matt Mastrogiovanni, Sports Talk Philly staff writer 

In 1962, President John F. Kennedy signed into law the designation of May 15 as Peace Officers Memorial Day. Along with that, the week itself was to be henceforth known as National Police Week (NPW). Every year since then, NPW has honored the service and sacrifice of those who've put their lives on the line or given their lives for United States law enforcement. 

To honor the theme of National Police Week, it's time to take a look back at some of the most prolific "law" enforcement "officers" to don the Philadelphia Flyers crest.

5. Donald Brashear

With 270 games under his belt over parts of four seasons as a Flyer, Donald Brashear made a name for himself as one of the National Hockey League's most fearsome fighters. What made him even more of a threat was his ability to throw punches equally as powerful with both hands as opposed to just his dominant left hand. Off the ice, Brashear practiced boxing as well as mixed martial arts later in his career. 

Perhaps his most famous Flyer fighting moment came in the fabled brawl between Philadelphia and the Ottawa Senators on March 5, 2004 at the then Wachovia Center. The incident featured 12 fights, two of them involving Brashear, and totaled 419 penalty minutes between the two teams. 

Through 1,025 total NHL games played, the long-time tough guy racked up 205 points and a whopping 2,634 penalty minutes.

4. Todd Fedoruk

Nicknamed "The Fridge", Todd Fedoruk was no slouch when it came to being an enforcer. Drafted in 1997, he spent an entire decade as part of the Flyers and Phantoms organizations. As a Flyer, the left-winger logged a 545-game career accompanied by another staggering amount of penalty minutes with 1,050.

Post-playing career, Fedoruk served as an assistant coach of the Flyers' then East Coast Hockey League affiliated Trenton Titans for two seasons up until 2013.

He is now involved with multiple Flyers Alumni events. 

3. Craig Berube

Throughout seven seasons with the Flyers, Craig Berube was not to be messed with. Though not the biggest in size at 6-foot-one-inch, Berube still stood tall up against the best of the best when it came to fighting. In 1,054 regular season games as a member of the Orange and Black, the former winger posted 159 points while accruing an outrageous 3,149 penalty minutes.

Most recently, the long-time Flyer fan favorite coached the St. Louis Blues to their franchise's first Stanley Cup Championship last season. Before that, he served as a tenured member of the Phantoms and Flyers coaching staffs as an assistant coach, head coach (Phantoms), and the interim head coach of the Flyers from Oct. 2013 to Apr. 2015.

2. Rick Tocchet

As an 11-year veteran of the Flyers organization, Rick Tocchet not only found success on the ice, but also off the ice. In his years as a Flyer, Tocchet put up 621 career games and 1,815 penalty minutes. On top of his physical play, he was a known scorer as well. Between scoring and physical talent, the former right-winger holds the NHL's and Flyers' all-time records for Gordie Howe hat tricks with a career total of 18. 

Other notable accolades for Tocchet include his three Stanley Cup Championships with the cross-state rival Pittsburgh Penguins. His first came in 1992 as a player with his next two coming as one of the team's assistant coaches in 2016 and 2017. He was also a four-time NHL All-Star. 

 

1. Dave Schultz

There's really no need for an introduction here. For the Flyers, and for the NHL, Dave "The Hammer" Schultz is considered the "godfather" of enforcers. Schultz's physicality, along with the brutally physical nature of the 1970's Flyers, terrorized the National Hockey League during the era of the "Broad Street Bullies."

As a two-time Stanley Cup Champion with the team, "The Hammer" played 297 games and logged 1,386 penalty minutes. He holds the NHL single season record for most penalty minutes with 472 in the 1974-75 season.

On Nov. 16, 2009, he was inducted into the Flyers Hall of Fame. 

It's no easy task being a hockey enforcer. It's even more difficult as a member of law enforcement. Many men and women over the years have given their time, effort, and lives to protect and serve their communities.

These days, it's no easier. Law enforcement, along with other first responders, essential business employees, grocery store employees, and especially medical staff are all going above and beyond the call of duty. With hockey on hold, different types of enforcers are doing their part to fight for society.

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