My name is Nick. I operate Crane Kick Chronicles, which is a blog about crane kicks. It’s absurd and makes no money and no one reads it and I love it. It cures my boredom and I find it hilarious that people are actually sending me crane kicks from around the world. I also have a cult following of high school girls on Twitter.
I also love the Flyers and Philadelphia sports in general. I used to cover sports for a wire service and some local newspapers out of college. I still enjoy writing, so when I was approached for my two cents on this topic I gladly accepted. Who knows, maybe one day I will start a sports blog. But probably not.
1. Flyers Alumni
One of the best things about the Flyers is their commitment to former players and the commitment of former players back to the fans. On any given night you can brush elbows with and/or cop an autograph from the likes of anyone from Bernie Parent to Bob Kelly to that dude with the mullet and mustache that played sparingly in the early 80’s. Having a few of these in the building makes for pretty strong odds that you will run into one of them away from the autograph table and out and about in the Whateverthehellitscalled Center. You might even get the opportunity to offer to purchase one of them a beer. They will always say yes. With the exception of one Flyers Hall of Famer who will remain nameless. He will decline a beer in lieu of a chardonnay and sprite. But he rules so we’ll let that drink choice slide.
As someone who is lucky enough to roam the club level on a fairly frequent basis (I know a guy who is related to a guy, I can’t afford that stuff), I can tell you first hand that the Flyers have some of the coolest alumni a professional sports team could boast. It’s pretty well known that hockey players in general, especially the older generation, are some of the most lighthearted and approachable people around. The Flyers guys exceed that reputation. It’s cool to see up close how much they appreciate being appreciated. And if you feed them enough booze, one might even let you try on a ring.
Speaking of drinking – I want to get drunk with Steve Coates. I’ve yet to accomplish that feat, but I’m working on it. I really want to see if this legend of the bar stool lives up to the hilarious hype. You know a guy is a good time when the play-by-play announcers from the other team will bust his balls about saucing on road trips.
Coatesy’s charms go a long way beyond his outside of work antics. For starters, he makes those god awful Coatesy’s Corner segments viewable. Those things are as cheesy as it gets. I swear if I see the puck on a string trick one more time, someone is getting sweatered. But even with the cheese factor, it’s Coatesy. He’s hilarious. You don’t know what he’s going to say or do. Who knows, he might end up in a dress fighting Pierre McGuire. Oh and he’s also a huge homer during the game, which I find fantastic. If I wanted an unbiased rink-side announcer I’d turn on figure skating.
3. Claude Giroux
I love this guy. When he was a rookie a buddy of mine and I dubbed him “Juice”. Apparently his nickname on the Flyers inner circle is “G”. Whatever. Juice is much cooler. I got a text message that said “JUICE” at least once a game throughout this year’s playoff run. The dude is a star. Flat out game changer. And his playoff beard is improving as well.
Broad Street Bullies. Hextall going after Chelios (he deserved it). The brawl against Ottawa. Crosby sucks. You know the deal. People around the hockey world think the Flyers are goons. And they think the Flyers fans are evil. Good. We love it. Go cry about it some more.
5. Playoffs? Playoffs!
Year in and year out the Flyers are going to give you a chance to ride the rollercoaster. It’s been long — way to frigging long — since there’s been a Stanley Cup parade in Philadelphia. I wasn’t even born yet. But the drought is not from a lack of effort. Ed Snider and his gang are going to try their hardest and do what they think is right to put a team on the ice that has a shot to win it all. Sometimes their decisions are not always the best decisions, but you gotta love and respect that all-or-nothing mentality from your organization. All you can ask for is an opportunity, and the Flyers are usually going to make the playoffs with a shot to make a run.
Playoff hockey is what I would imagine a gladiator event would be like. There’s a thirst for blood in the air. The Orange Out, the videos during introductions, Lauren Hart’s hot self piping out God Bless America along side Kate Smith’s…video self. It all really is something that you need to experience in person to fully understand the atmosphere. Not to mention that wearing shorts and a t-shirt to a hockey game is pretty cool. Sit in the sun, tailgate, roll inside and scream your face off at a bunch of guys beating the hell out of each other on ice. My kind of party.
The Five Reasons to Love the Flyers feature was inspired by the Five Reasons I Love Hockey feature on the Puck Daddy blog. This column should run biweekly on Thursdays. If you are a diehard Flyers fan and would like to submit your list of reasons to love the Flyers, contact us.